Area students set to return to classrooms next week

by Stephen Dafoe

With the exception of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the province’s students will return to their classrooms as planned on May 25, and the government says the two-week shift to at-home learning gave the education system time to address operational challenges from the rise of COVID-19 cases.

“I’m pleased our two-week plan has been successful in nearly all areas of the province. Everyone has worked hard to stop the spike and I am confident all students will finish the remainder of the school year in the classroom,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange in a media release Wednesday. “I want to thank all students, parents, teachers and staff for their efforts and flexibility as we work to keep students learning.”

Health protocols previously in schools will continue. This includes mask requirements, cohorts, screening for symptoms and seating arrangements.

NDP Education Critic Sarah Hoffman said the previous measures are not enough and that the repeated need to stop in-person learning has been hard for students, staff and families.

“Everyone wants schools to be open but the UCP have failed to make any changes to make schools safer,” Hoffman said, adding the previous day she had called on the UCP to provide additional funding to hire more staff for schools and to increase PPE and cleaning supplies.

“We also urged the government to open in-school COVID-19 vaccines for eligible staff and students. I fear that families will be left to deal with more isolations because the government has failed to do anything to make schools safer.”

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