A classroom is shown at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ont., on Monday, September 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A classroom is shown at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School in Scarborough, Ont., on Monday, September 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Parents encouraged to rate Alberta’s back-to-school plan

Alberta School Councils’ Assocation develops online survey

Alberta School Councils’ Association wants parents to take a quick online survey about Alberta Education’s back-to-school plan.

Once Sept. 27 rolls around, the province will not mandate masks in classrooms, isolation for positive cases and there will be no requirement for Alberta Health Services or schools to alert others of positive cases.

But until then some provincial COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place which includes mandatory masking in school buses; mandatory isolation for 10 days for those with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result; and testing at assessment centres for any symptomatic individual.

Last week the province also announced that school jurisdictions have the ability and the corresponding accountability to put in place local measures, such as physical distancing, cohorting, and masking requirements, that may exceed provincial guidance.

“Our association is just trying to do a litmus test as far as what families are feeling,” said president Brandi Rai.

“We’ve had lots of emails. There are families who are greatly concerned, and then there are families that are completely done with COVID and don’t even want to have any measures in place. They’re worried about their children’s mental health.

“We’re trying to figure out what it is that would best serve families and then advocate for that.”


COVID rules for students announced for September

So far over 7,600 responses to the 10-question 2021 School Re-Entry Plan Survey have been received. The deadline to complete the survey is Aug. 20 at 4 p.m.

Rai said some people have found that the questions don’t dig deep enough. If that’s the case, they are encouraged to send an email to parents@albertaschoolcouncils.ca to provide more detail.

“They find they have more to say, and we’re here to listen.”

She said some families are frustrated that they can’t access the data used by Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw when she planned to do away with measures like mandatory isolation. Because children 12 and under cannot be immunized they are grateful that such measures will remain in place until the end of September.


Alberta identifies 1,407 new COVID-19 cases over weekend

Rai added that the association is grateful to school districts, like Red Deer Public Schools, that are reaching out to their parent community before determining their local back-to-school plan.

“It’s really important for all Albertans to pay attention to what this back to school plan looks like and what it can mean for our kids. COVID is still here. The Delta variant is here. And a significant portion of our student population is not vaccinated, and now we’re putting them back together.”


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