Citing “overall well-being,” students in Early Childhood Services through to Grade 12 will return to their in-person classes on Monday, Jan. 10. The UCP says they will have “measures in place to continue learning safely.”
Those measures include access to rapid tests and medical-grade masks, which will start shipping this week with completion at the end of next week. Existing health measures, including masking, physical distancing, cohorting, enhanced sanitization and hygiene practices remain in place.
“I have heard overwhelmingly from families that learning in person is best for their kids who feel more connected, learn better and thrive while attending school in person. Experts agree and continue to stress the importance of in-person learning to the overall health of children and youth,” said Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange.
A new online tutoring tool will be available to minimize learning disruption for Grades 4-9. The e-Tutoring Hub includes pre-recorded video tutoring sessions in literacy and numeracy that students and their parents can access at any time.
The UCP says school authorities still have the flexibility, with the government’s decision, to shift a class or an individual grade to short-term at-home learning if needed.
Earlier in the day, Alberta’s Opposition NDP said their proposals for new measures would better protect children and staff in child care settings.
“As Alberta families brace for a fifth wave of the pandemic, parents of children in child care feel forgotten,” said NDP Children’s Services Critic Rakhi Pancholi.
“Child care operators are asking the UCP to start making our children a priority. As Omicron spreads and children under the age of five remain the only age group still ineligible for the vaccine, we are calling on the UCP to take concrete steps to reduce the spread and keep children and staff in child care safe.”
The NDP called on the UCP to make N95 masks available for staff in all licensed child care settings and child-size N95 masks for children whose parents request these masks, make rapid tests available to send home to all families, and install HEPA filters installed in all child care settings.
The opposition also wants children who are close contacts of positive household members to stay home, something not required currently.