Extending the Christmas break for schools is something people are talking about in other provinces. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

COVID-19 outbreaks shift several Central Alberta schools to online learning

West Central High School in Rocky Mountain House and Donalda School are transitioning all students to online learning because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Clearview Public Schools announced Tuesday that Donalda School moved online until Oct. 5, with a planned return to in-class learning on Oct. 6.

“Previously, we alerted our school community that we had over 10 per cent of students away due illness, and made the difficult transition to have Grades 1 to 9 transition to at-home learning on Sunday, September 19,” an email statement from Clearview Public Schools read.

“At the time of writing this letter, the percentage of students and staff away continues to be over 10 per cent with reported cases of COVID-19.”

In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, West Central High School said, “due to operational challenges” they have been approved by the Wild Rose School Division to move online starting Wednesday and return on Oct. 6.

“Operational effectiveness and the safety of our students and staff will continue to guide our decisions in these matters,” the post read.

Other schools that are experiencing over 10 per cent of students and staff away due to illness include Big Valley School (partial transition to at-home learning: Grades 1-9), Byemoor School, Erskine School, Gus Wetter School and Stettler Elementary School.

For students at Donalda School, they will work through a mix of online and paper-based materials.

“Classroom teachers will provide a detailed schedule so that students will have direct access to them at specified times during the day. This will ensure that we will keep moving forward with the curriculum and continue the strong learning that is happening within classes,” the statement read.

“Please know that this decision was not made lightly and we recognize the inconvenience this decision places on families. We appreciate your support, understanding and flexibility to ensure student learning continues on successfully during this time.”