On Monday morning, students gathered outside Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School during a break, raising questions about the observance of COVID-19 protocols. (Contributed photo)

On Monday morning, students gathered outside Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School during a break, raising questions about the observance of COVID-19 protocols. (Contributed photo)

Mingling tough for youth to resist, says teachers’ president

Classroom cohort system used to reduce spread of COVID

Ensuring students take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a challenge for schools across the country, says the president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Earlier this week, a crowd of students was photographed mingling during a break outside Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. It’s unclear how many students wore masks.

While the member of the public who took the photo was concerned by what he saw, many Advocate readers who commented online on the story sided with students.

“Good for them, I’m glad they find time to enjoy their time,” one woman posted on Facebook.

But teacher president Jason Schilling said mingling among students is one of the stresses teachers face.

“Ideally, if they stay in the cohort, then you know everybody in that cohort is following the same rules. But when classes are dismissed and they go for lunch, kids are kids.

“They’re going to go out and do what kids do and they break that cohort model,” Schilling said.

“It’s a difficulty we see in Alberta. When I talk with presidents across Canada, that cohorting model concern is one that is across the country as well.”


COVID-19 risk: Man sounds alarm after seeing a large student crowd in Red Deer

COVID cases — including three in Red Deer schools — stand at 6,230, an all-time high

2,268 new COVID-19 cases is ‘heartbreaking’

He said for the most part, students have been following the rules inside schools.

“As I talk to teachers across the province, they’ve had fairly good compliance around masking in school. They are able to build in mask breaks, if they can.”

He said there will always be some students who don’t want to follow the rules, whether it’s about cellphones, hats, or masks, but for the most part, students are happy to be back at school with their friends and teachers.

But as infection grows in the community, more schools will have cases, and more teachers and students will have to self-isolate, said Schilling.

Parents have to talk to their children about maintaining cohorts, and the community also has a role to play through consistent messaging on issues such as masks, he said.

“A lot of communities are passing their own bylaws in the absence of guidance from the province.”

This week, Red Deer was added to the Alberta Health watch list due to the growing number of COVID cases. So far, the city does not require masks to be worn in public.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

(Black Press file photo.)
Road closures at both ends of Red Deer next week

Red Deer motorists should expect delays with road closures in the north… Continue reading

(File photo by Advocate staff)
37-year-old from Red Deer dies in highway crash

An individual from Red Deer has died after a collision on Highway… Continue reading

Grade one teacher Heidi Dimou arranges the desks in line with physical distancing policy in her class in preparation for the new school year at the Willingdon Elementary School in Montreal, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta students expected to return to in-person learning next week

Kids can anticipate a return to the classroom next week in Alberta.… Continue reading

This grizzly bear had been hanging out near Aurum Lodge and the Cline River area and was later killed by Fish and Wildlife, says an area resident. (Contributed photo)
Grizzly sniffing for human food west of Nordegg killed

Lodge owner reminds campers to keep all food away from wildlife

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he learned weeks ago that… Continue reading

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canadians can drive to U.S. for COVID-19 vax and avoid quarantine, Ottawa confirms

TORONTO — Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Quebec can modify part of the Canadian Constitution unilaterally: Trudeau

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec can unilaterally modify part… Continue reading

In this Thursday, April 29, 2021, file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, West Germany. Canadian environmentalists are welcoming a report from the International Energy Agency that says new fossil fuel investment must end if the world is to meet its climate goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Martin Meissner
Canadian environmentalists happy with International Energy Agency report

Environmentalists say a report from the International Energy Agency that concludes investment… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is calling for a… Continue reading

A forest fire burns late into the evening northeast of Prince Albert, Sask., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Saskatchewan wildfire grows, forcing evacuations in the area to expand

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — Dry conditions and strong winds caused a large… Continue reading

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tam hopeful for summer even as Canada hits grim death milestone in COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she expects… Continue reading

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

Most Read