Information below includes COVID-19 updates from the Province of Alberta, Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services.
Videos - Returning to school safely
January, 2022 UPDATE
To view the Alberta COVID-19 Guidance for Schools (K-12) and School Buses, please click the link below:
The newly-updated COVID-19 Alberta Daily Checklist can also be found below:
November 25 UPDATE:
Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. More information can be found here: VACCINE
November 23 UPDATE:
With more than 394,000 pediatric doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arriving in the province, Alberta will begin taking vaccine bookings for five to 11 year olds on Nov. 24.
The doses are being distributed to 120 Alberta Health Services vaccination clinics across the province and four pharmacies in communities where AHS clinics are not nearby.
Appointments will be required for all pediatric vaccinations and bookings will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Appointments for first doses will begin as early as Friday, Nov. 26. More details on locations where parents can book appointments will be available in the coming days.
“The wait is nearly over for Alberta families with children between the ages of five and 11. Now that there is a safe, effective vaccine approved for use for these youngsters, and with doses arriving in the province, we can start booking appointments. Within days, we will begin administering the first pediatric doses, helping to ensure even more Albertans are protected from COVID-19.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“Provincial teams are quickly distributing the newly arrived Pfizer pediatric vaccine to more than 100 locations across Alberta. Our immunization program continues to be one of the best in Canada and we are ready to safely and quickly make these doses available for young Albertans.”
Jason Copping, Minister of Health
“The evidence is clear that the pediatric Pfizer vaccine is highly effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Parents who choose to have their young children vaccinated against this virus will not only help to protect their kids but their families and communities too.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health
Booking a vaccination appointment for children aged five to 11
Pediatric vaccinations will be administered at Alberta Health Services clinics around the province. Vaccines will also be available at four pharmacies where AHS clinics are not conveniently located. First-dose appointments must be booked through the Alberta Vaccine Booking System at alberta.ca/vaccine or by calling Health Link at 811. Walk-ins are not available at this time.
Children five to 11 years of age who live on a First Nations reserve will also be able to access doses through nursing stations or public health clinics on-reserve.
The recommended interval between the first and second doses for children aged five to 11 is at least eight weeks. It is also recommended that children should wait at least 14 days between receiving the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and another type of vaccine.
Restrictions Exemption Program
Children under 12 years of age will continue to have access to businesses and venues participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, regardless of their vaccination status. This will provide parents and guardians the time to decide if and when their young children will be protected against COVID-19.
Children aged 12 and under are able to access facilities with their parents or guardians who meet the program requirements, as well as participate in youth activities while following current public health measures.
October 27 UPDATE:
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will provide an update on additional steps being taken to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click the following link to view the video: EDUCATION MINISTER
October 5 UPDATE:
Today, the Alberta government announced steps to protect students, parents, teachers and staff with more tools to help fight against COVID-19.
To keep students learning safely in person, Alberta’s government is resuming public reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools, initiating contact notification in schools, clarifying COVID-19 outbreak definitions, providing rapid testing kits and encouraging school authorities to have proof of COVID-19 vaccination policies for adults.
Learn more here: FOURTH WAVE
September 15 UPDATE:
The Government of Alberta has announced new temporary health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 will apply provincewide.
The measures that impact our K-12 schools include:
- Mandatory masking for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades. Schools that can implement an alternate COVID safety plan can be exempted from mandatory masking.
- Elementary schools are to implement class cohorting.
- For physical activities in schools:
- Youth aged 18 and under are not required to mask or maintain two-metre distance when engaged in physical activity.
- There are no restrictions on outdoor activities.
- Indoor sports/performance/recreation/special interests are permitted with requirements for two-metre physical distancing, where possible.
More information can be found here: MEASURES
September 3 UPDATE:
Due to increasing COVID-19 transmission and rising hospital admissions, overwhelmingly amongst unvaccinated Albertans, temporary measures are needed to reduce transmission and prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed.
Currently, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospital are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care.
“Vaccines are safe, effective, and a game-changer. This is why the current wave is different than what we’ve experienced before. While we do not need to return to the same widespread and dramatic measures we had in place earlier in the pandemic, unvaccinated Albertans in particular are still at risk and are placing a heavy load on our health-care system. This is why we are taking measured steps and introducing a new incentive program to encourage more Albertans to get the jab.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
“As I have always done, I use the best currently available evidence from Alberta and around the world to inform my recommendations to protect the health of Albertans. With hospitalization rates rising, it is important that we take additional steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. My ultimate goal continues to be to shift from pandemic to endemic and put more focus on the complete health of Albertans – we must learn to live with COVID. Getting vaccinated today is the best possible way for us to get there.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health
New vaccine incentive program
A one-time incentive of $100 is now available for all Albertans age 18 or older who receive a first or second dose of vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14.
This incentive is intended to encourage unvaccinated Albertans to get protected as soon as possible.
After vaccination, eligible Albertans will be able to register online. Alberta Health will validate registrations against provincial immunization data. This website will be available starting on Sept. 13. If Albertans do not have access to a computer, they can contact 310-0000 for assistance, starting on Sept. 13.
- The province will make masks mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces starting Sept. 4 at 8 a.m. Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
- Also, as of Sept. 4 at 8 a.m., restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments will be required to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.
- In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. To support this, the province strongly recommends that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.
- It is also recommended that employers pause their plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work-from-home measures. If employees are working on location, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.
Additional vaccine incentives
All Albertans who have received two doses of vaccine and are aged 18 and over are eligible for the remaining $1-million draw for the Open for Summer Lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/lottery. The final draw closes Sept. 23.
Fully protected Albertans are also eligible to enter the Outdoor Adventure vaccine lottery. To register and for complete details, visit alberta.ca/outdoor-adventure-vaccine-lottery.aspx. The lottery closes Sept. 9.
Book an appointment and get vaccinated
All Albertans can book appointments via AHS online or by calling 811, or through participating pharmacies. Walk-in appointments for first doses are also available. For schedule and locations, visit ahs.ca/vaccine.
Based on information available in mid-August, an updated projection of estimated COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to the end of September was developed. Current actual data is trending toward the high end of the projections, therefore numbers may exceed the projections. Peaks in the model are only estimates, and actual peaks may be higher and later than anticipated if current growth trends continue.
This provincial modelling shows intensive care unit patients could possibly peak at around 180 in the medium scenario, although if accelerating trends continue, numbers could reach or exceed the currently projected high scenario at 290.
Other hospitalizations (non-ICU) are currently trending toward the high scenario, with a potential peak of 700 in the next several weeks. If the high scenario peaks are reached, this would mean a greater combined impact on the acute care system than in all previous waves, and if changes in transmission cause greater spread, these numbers could be exceeded.
Modelling is for the entire province. Some regions will experience different case and hospitalization statistics per capita; this will particularly be expected in those areas with lower rates of vaccinations.
Modelling is a dynamic process where there are constant comparisons against observations versus projections. When these comparisons deviate, the model assumptions are re-evaluated, which may change with new information such as outbreak events.
This modelling is now available online. A separate evidence summary has also been posted, including key assumptions and considerations, hospital impact modelling that was developed in June to inform changes announced in late July, and a reference list for further reading.
August 13 UPDATE:
The province released its health guide, tool kit and on-site vaccination plan, along with new health guidance to ensure students’ safety and help school officials prepare for the new school year.
Learn more here: HEALTH GUIDE
June 30 UPDATE:
The Government of Alberta has released its 2021/2022 School Year Plan. The plan can be found online here: SCHOOL YEAR PLAN.
June 18 UPDATE:
Effective immediately, anyone who received their first mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) dose in May or earlier can book their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Alberta continues to lead the way in administering second doses in Canada, with more than 25 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated. Alberta’s government is speeding up second doses by opening up appointments for all Albertans.
Anyone who received a first mRNA dose in June can also now book their second dose once four weeks have passed since their first shot. This means that more than 983,000 Albertans can book second appointments through Alberta Health Services (AHS) and participating pharmacies and physician clinics.
Albertans who had their first immunization with Pfizer or Moderna (mRNA vaccine) four weeks ago or more can book their second dose through the Alberta Health Services online booking tool, by calling Health Link at 811 or through participating physicians’ offices or pharmacies. To find the closest pharmacy with the earliest available booking date, check the list at Alberta Blue Cross.
Albertans who received a first dose of AstraZeneca should continue to wait a minimum of eight weeks before booking their second dose to ensure best effectiveness. Appointments can be booked through Alberta Health Services by calling 811.
First doses are being prioritized. Albertans who have not yet received their first dose of vaccine can still book an appointment and we urge them to do so. Plus, if you receive a first dose and register at alberta.ca/lottery before 11:59 p.m. on June 24, you’re eligible to win $1 million through Alberta’s Open for Summer Lottery.
May 28 UPDATE:
Alberta’s government is providing up to $45 million in new funding to jump-start targeted supports for students who require extra help with literacy and numeracy after two school years of pandemic-impacted learning.
The targeted programming is based on feedback from superintendents from school divisions throughout the province on how to best support early learners.
Early research indicates literacy and numeracy are two key areas where some younger children are experiencing challenges as a result of the pandemic. Research also indicates that early intervention with struggling readers can help students catch up to grade level. Without intervention, those students could continue to struggle with reading throughout their school lives.
In March, a voluntary program for schools was launched to assess the impact of the pandemic. It focuses on reading deficits among early learners.
An expert panel is also engaging with Albertans on the impacts of the pandemic on school-aged children.
In addition, Alberta is committed to renewing the kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) curriculum with a focus on literacy and numeracy. The draft K-6 curriculum emphasizes literacy and numeracy across all grades to give students a strong base of essential knowledge for the future.
May 19 UPDATE:
Government of Alberta news release:
Students across Alberta will return to their classrooms on May 25 as planned, except for students in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
(Please note, for Lethbridge School Division, classes resume on Wednesday, May 26. Tuesday, May 25, has been designated as a Division-wide school-based Professional Learning Day
The two-week shift to at-home learning has given the education system time to address the operational challenges caused by the rise of COVID-19 cases in the province. K-12 students in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will continue to learn at home for another week, with a targeted return to in-person learning on May 31.
“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. I want to thank all students, parents, teachers and staff for their efforts and flexibility as we work to keep students learning," said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.
All schools in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (public, Catholic, charter and independent) will continue at-home learning for an additional week. Case numbers in this region have not been trending downward at the same rate as in other regions, which means a higher likelihood of continued in-school operational challenges.
The robust health protocols that have been in place in schools will continue, including mask requirements, cohorts, screening for symptoms and seating arrangements. That’s in addition to the added layer of protection with more Albertans getting the COVID-19 vaccine, including school staff and students aged 12 and older.
The expansion of rapid screening testing at schools is also moving ahead as planned in Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge, and in other communities where needed, starting next week. School divisions in Edmonton and Calgary have been offered the opportunity to have testing teams available at select school sites before the return to in-person learning occurs. Rapid testing is another preventative layer against the spread of COVID-19 by quickly identifying people without symptoms who may have the virus. Education’s rapid testing team will work with school divisions on final school selection, logistics, consent process and scheduling.
To date, about 10,800 tests have been conducted in Edmonton and Calgary schools resulting in 44 preliminary positive results. Anyone with a positive screening test is asked to confirm the result by taking a lab-confirmed test at an AHS assessment centre. A positive result on a rapid test will mean that the staff or student will need to be in isolation for 10 days from that date, unless the follow-up test through AHS is negative, in which case they can return to school.
May 4 UPDATE:
All Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, and all Early Education Programs, will temporarily shift to at-home learning (Scenario 3), starting on May 7. Students will return to in-class learning on May 25.
Click here for more information: SCENARIO 3.
April 29 UPDATE:
Targeted restrictions will apply to municipalities or regions where there are at least 350 cases per 100,000 people and 250 currently active cases.
New measures will apply to junior and senior high schools, and sports and fitness activities in these communities.
These targeted restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks for any community or area that reaches this trigger. After 14 days, the enhanced measures will be lifted once the municipality falls back below the threshold.
Click the following link to access the Government of Alberta media release: RESTRICTIONS.
April 10 UPDATE:
The in-school rapid screening test program will expand to up to 300 schools in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
Testing will begin as soon as possible over the coming weeks as rapid testing teams are set up. 440,000 rapid test kits will be distributed to schools, and testing will be offered to up to 220,000 students and staff across Alberta. Teams may also be deployed at a school outside of the four communities when Alberta Health identifies a need at a specific school.
Junior and senior high schools in these communities will be prioritized based on a variety of factors, including the prevalence of COVID-19 in the school and community.
“We are stepping-up our fight against COVID-19 by expanding the rapid testing program in Alberta schools to ensure students, teachers and staff remain safe. Rapid testing in schools offers another layer of protection to our schools," said Jason Kenney, Premier.
“I am pleased to significantly expand on our successful rapid testing pilot in schools to more students and staff in more communities. Rapid test screening is one more tool to limit the spread of the virus in schools and ensure students can keep learning safely from the classroom," said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.
“Expanding rapid testing to schools is just the latest example of the leading role we’ve taken in testing throughout the pandemic. It’s another tool to help keep schools opening safely, as part of our commitment to keep Albertans safe while we maintain activities that are important to families and communities," said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health.
“The Calgary Catholic School District is very pleased to see Alberta Education support the expansion of the COVID-19 testing program within our Grades 7-12 student and staff population. Having the ability to quickly identify those staff and students who are asymptomatic, yet who may have COVID-19 or one of the variants allows them to isolate sooner, helping to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus," said Mary Martin, board chair, Calgary Catholic School District.
“This is great news. To date, rapid testing at CBE schools has been well-received by parents, students and staff. We look forward to the expansion to additional schools and grades, to support us in maintaining ongoing in-person learning," said Marilyn Dennis, Board chair, Calgary Board of Education.
“Grande Prairie Public School Division is very appreciative of the efforts of the ministry to be proactive in their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and is fully supportive of the expansion of the rapid testing initiative into our schools," said John Lehners, board chair, Grande Prairie Public School Division.
Provincial officials will work with school authorities to determine which schools will participate. Testing teams will set up at selected schools to screen students and staff who don’t have symptoms and have signed consent forms.
Rapid screening tests may potentially detect the virus quickly in people who don’t have symptoms, allowing them to immediately isolate and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses, and protect Alberta’s health care system.
- Eight school boards are participating in the expanded rapid testing program: Edmonton Catholic School District, Edmonton Public Schools, Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic Schools, Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools, Grande Prairie Public School Division, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and Lethbridge School Division.
- The number of schools where testing is offered may vary each week depending on the size of the school and the time needed to administer the tests.
- Up to 440,000 test kits are available for the program expansion.
- Students and staff who do not have symptoms, and have not been identified as close contacts, can get tested while attending school. Testing is optional.
- Results are available at the school usually within an hour.
- Students and staff who get a positive result after a rapid test will not be able to return to class and will isolate.
- Positive results from rapid tests are considered preliminary and must be confirmed with a lab-based test at an Alberta Health Services assessment centre.
March 11 UPDATE:
Starting in mid-March, rapid COVID-19 tests will be offered at two Calgary schools to help assess rapid on-site testing in schools.
More than 100,000 kits will be made available for this pilot program. Rapid tests will be offered every week for up to three weeks to screen students with no symptoms.
One school from both the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District will participate. The specific locations have not yet been selected.
Results from the first three weeks of the pilot will inform how the pilot program can be successfully expanded to include more schools and regions in the weeks ahead.
A testing team will set up at each participating school. Staff must sign a consent form and students must have a consent form signed by their parents or guardians to get tested.
This pilot program will help to determine the effectiveness of using rapid screening tests to manage outbreaks in schools. It will also evaluate the benefits of using rapid tests to reduce the risk of transmission in schools experiencing outbreaks by quickly identifying individuals who may have COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.
Feb. 9 UPDATE:
The Critical Worker Benefit will provide a one-time payment of $1,200 to eligible Albertans in recognition of their hard work to provide Albertans with the care and critical services they need.
The benefit will be distributed to more than 380,000 workers in the health-care, social services, education and private sectors.
Through the Critical Worker Benefit, the Government of Alberta will distribute up to $465 million in funding to eligible workers. This includes up to $118 million in provincial funds, in addition to $347 million from the federal government’s benefit program for low-wage critical workers.
Eligible workers in the health care, social services, education and private sectors will receive a $1,200 benefit distributed through their employers.
Applications from private sector employers will be accepted starting on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Private sector employers have until Friday, March 19, 2021 to apply for the benefit on behalf of their eligible employees.
To be eligible for the benefit, education workers must:
- have worked a minimum 300 paid hours for a provincial school authority or a contractor with a provincial school authority, between October 12, 2020 and January 31, 2021
Hours are for paid work and may include some virtual or online work where the work was performed with students.
The minimum number of paid hours (300) will be prorated for periods of time when schools were required to be closed.
As each school district had different dates when schools were closed, minimum hour prorations will be calculated on a case-by-case basis for individual school authorities.
The following education occupations are eligible to receive the benefit if they meet the above criteria:
- educational or teacher assistants
- bus drivers
- custodians and janitors
- school secretarial staff-related positions
Feb. 6 UPDATE:
Mandatory restrictions - Provincewide - Effective Feb. 8
All participants must be 18 years old or younger, except coaches or trainers.
GROUP PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Children and youth will be allowed to participate in limited group activities.
- Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed for indoor and outdoor minor sports/activities and school athletics (for example, school sport activities that are outside of a physical education class or related part of the school curriculum).
- Games are not allowed.
- Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers, and participants.
- Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all times:
- 3-metres physical distance for indoor activities
- 2-metres physical distance for outdoor activities
- coaches or trainers may enter physical distancing space for brief interactions with participants (for example, to correct form or technique)
- Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity. Coaches and trainers must remain masked at all times.
- Access to change rooms must be limited, including accelerated arrival and departure, emergencies (for example, first aid) and washroom use.
Children’s performance activities are permitted if related to school activities, such as music class.
K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions are allowed to use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.
Jan. 30 UPDATE:
The Government of Alberta has developed steps and benchmarks to easing restrictions for businesses and individuals while protecting the health-care system.
Each step has an associated benchmark of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including intensive care patients. Changes to restrictions will be considered once a benchmark is reached.
The hospitalization benchmarks are:
- Step 1 – 600 and declining
- Step 2 – 450 and declining
- Step 3 – 300 and declining
- Step 4 – 150 and declining
With hospitalizations dipping below 600, Alberta will move to Step 1 on Feb. 8.
For schools, the following changes will come into place on Feb. 8:
- Children’s sport and performance activities are permitted if related to school activities, such as physical education classes.
- K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions are allowed to use off-site facilities to support curriculum-related educational activities.
Group or team sports not permitted
- No sports games, competitions, team practice, league play or group exercise of any kind is allowed.
More information on the changes can be found here: HEALTH MEASURES
Jan. 7 UPDATE:
The decision to return to in-class learning is based on the latest evidence which shows that before the winter break, new case rates in schools plateaued and then dropped in December, once restrictions on social gatherings and group activities were in place.
“I want to recognize the effort of school staff, teachers and parents to follow health measures and help us keep classrooms safe for Alberta students. I’m confident this effort will continue and we’ll see a successful return to in-person learning to the benefit of all students.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“Schools play a critical role in supporting student learning as well as their emotional health and overall well-being. In September, the vast majority of parents chose in-person learning for their children during the pandemic and schools have been diligently following the extensive health measures in place. A return to school will provide our students with the familiar daily routine of learning in class and will restore some sense of normalcy for both students and families amidst these unusual times.”
Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education
Dec. 18 UPDATE:
Alberta Education has updated the website, Learning During COVID-19, to ensure content is relevant and easy for parents and school staff to find.
The alberta.ca/returntoschool URL has been maintained. It now takes users to a main page with a link for parents and students – and another for school staff. All of the information users are accustomed to accessing (such as videos and guidance documents) can still be found here. The main page also contains links to child care and post-secondary information.
French content will be translated soon. Fr now, Francophone audiences can continue to access up-to-date information on here.
In addition, the Government of Alberta has compiled translated COVID-19 resources. Information includes a range of tools in 12 languages – including Somali, Spanish, Arabic, Punjabi and more.
Dec. 8 UPDATE:
Today, the Alberta government released a series of new restrictions to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
These changes do not include additional measures for schools. The adjustments made on November 30 to move Grades 7 to 12 students to at-home learning until January 11, 2021, and to move ECS to Grade 6 students to at-home learning following the winter break until January 11, will continue.
As Dr. Hinshaw and I have said, these measures were based on:
- in-school transmission occurring at relatively low levels;
- moving older students to at-home and away from the school for a longer period will help limit the spread of COVID-19, as they are at a higher risk of transmitting the virus compared to younger children;
- at-home learning will help deal with operational and staffing challenges;
- a shorter time at-home for younger students balances reducing possible transmission events following the winter break with the challenges that come with younger children learning at-home – from an academic, social, emotional and family perspective.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will make further adjustments as necessary. Thank you again for all your efforts to adhere to health measures to keep students and staff safe.
Minister of Education
Nov. 24 UPDATE:
Alberta’s government introduced today a series of new COVID-19 measures that impacts various sectors in our communities. As part of these new measures, all Grades 7 to 12 students province-wide will move to at-home learning (Scenario 3 of the 2020-2021 School Re-Entry Plan) effective November 30. ECS to Grade 6 students will continue learning at school in-person under Scenario 1 until the winter break – as per school authority calendars.
After the winter break, all ECS to Grade 12 students across Alberta will be learning at-home for about a week depending on school authority calendars, and will return to Scenario 1 at school in-person learning on January 11, 2021. These shifts in learning surrounding the winter break are mandatory for all school authorities. School authorities who have a previously scheduled winter break during the week of January 4 – 8 will have their break continue, and their students will return to learning on January 11.
All diploma exams for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year will be optional. The decision to write diploma exams resides with students and their families. Students will receive an exemption if they choose not to write an exam, however if an exam is written it will continue to be worth 30% of their final mark.
These decisions were made after careful consideration and are based on the advice of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. While in-school transmission appears to be occurring at relatively low levels over the past three months, the temporary shift to at-home learning for junior high and high school students will help limit the spread of COVID-19 as wells as alleviate operational and learning challenges. Requiring all students to stay home from school following the break is also intended to help reduce the impact of any exposures over the holidays.
I know we asked school authorities to prepare for possible shifts among scenarios during this school year. I’d like to thank you for staying flexible throughout this time. I’m confident the school system is ready to adjust to the changes that arise in this COVID-19 environment.
We truly appreciate all your efforts to follow the health measures and to keep students and staff safe. I’d like to thank everyone in the school system for their dedication to continue student learning both in-class and at-home during this unprecedented school year.
Minister of Education
Nov. 12 UPDATE:
New public health measures are in place in communities across Alberta to protect the health system and limit the spread of COVID-19. Learn more here: MEASURES
October 29 UPDATE:
Updates to the DAILY CHECKLIST for students will take effect on Monday, Nov. 2.
The new Alberta Health daily checklist for children under 18 has been released and will apply to Albertans under 18. This also applies to individuals who are 18 and over and are attending high school.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has also written a letter to parents to explain changes to the daily symptoms checklist. The letter can be found here: HINSHAW
All other Albertans who are 18 and over, including school staff, will continue to use the Alberta Health daily checklist that was previously posted online.
Both checklists are available here: COVID-19 INFORMATION.
Symptoms of runny nose and sore throat have been removed from the mandatory isolation checklist for Albertans under 18.
The core isolation symptoms for children are now one (or more) of the following: cough, fever, loss of taste or smell and shortness of breath. If a child has any of these core symptoms:
They are to isolate for 10 days OR have a negative COVID-19 test result and feel better before they return to school or other activities.
If a child has ONE of the following symptoms: chills; sore throat or painful swallowing; runny nose or congestion; feeling unwell or fatigue; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; unexplained loss of appetite; muscle or joint aches; headache; or conjunctivitis (pink eye):
The child should stay home and monitor for 24 hours.
If their symptom is improving after 24 hours, they can return to school/activities when they feel well enough to attend. Testing is not recommended.
If the symptom worsens after 24 hours, or if additional symptoms emerge, or if the child has any two symptoms from this second list, they are to continue to stay home, and testing is recommended but not required. The child can return to activities and school when their symptoms have resolved AND it has been 24 hours or more since their symptoms started.
The amount of time a student needs to stay home from school depends on the type of symptoms. For more information, please click on this document, which outlines isolation requirements: ISOLATION
October 13 UPDATE:
Gene Williams, Assistant Deputy Minister at Alberta Education, provided this update today in terms of diploma exam administration for the November writing session:
When the school re-entry plan was released, the department announced that diploma exams will continue to be administered as long as Scenario 1 or Scenario 2 are in place, but may be cancelled if a shift to Scenario 3 becomes necessary. We are dealing with a complex and unpredictable set of circumstances, and we must remain ready to adapt to changes and follow the guidelines set out by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. That said, we are always exploring options to make the return to in-person learning as smooth as possible and we will make adjustments to the school re-entry plan as required.
As such, Alberta’s government is providing students and parents with the option of choosing if they write their diploma exams for the November 2020 administration. At this time, diploma exam administrations for the balance of the 2020/21 school year are expected to proceed as usual. Alberta’s government will continue to monitor the situation and potential adjustments to future diploma exam administrations will be considered one administration at a time.
Below are some important operational details to share with your school leaders:
- The decision to write November 2020 diploma exams resides with students and their parents.
- Schools will work with students to determine who will write the exams in November 2020.
- The department will provide diploma exams to schools through a supplemental shipment process. To ensure adequate diploma exams are provided to schools in time for students to write them, schools are required to provide the approximate numbers of diploma exams to the department by October 20, 2020.
- Students who will receive a school-awarded mark for Quarter 1 (September to November courses) and do not write diploma exams will automatically receive exemptions.
To ensure students who want to write diploma exams can access them, all schools that have students registered to write November 2020 diploma exams should be ready to administer them. However, to streamline diploma exam administration, school authorities may choose to consolidate exam writings at a central location.
Click here for a Q and A document: DIPLOMA EXAMS.
October 8 UPDATE:
The Guidance for School Re-Entry - Scenario 1 includes a number of key updates, including cohorts, in-person learning and auxiliary spaces: GUIDELINES
The Implementation Guide - Scenario 1, relflects changes in the School Re-Entry guide and provides greater detail for implementation purposes: IMPLEMENATION
Feb. 9, 2022 UPDATE
Provincewide public health measures will be gradually lifted as the fifth wave of COVID-19 subsides and pressure on the health-care system eases.
Alberta will begin a careful and prudent plan to phase out public health measures, starting Feb. 8. The three-step approach will begin with lower-risk activities while maintaining protections for the health-care system, including continuing care facilities.
Beginning Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m., Alberta will move to step one, which includes the removal of the Restrictions Exemption Program and capacity limits on venues under 500 capacity, including libraries and places of worship, and allows for food and beverage consumption in seated audience settings for large events and entertainment venues. Mandatory masking for children and youth in schools, and for youth aged 12 and under in any setting will end Feb. 13 at 11:59 p.m.
“The last two years have taken a significant toll on Albertans’ overall health, social and economic well-being. Now that we are through the worst of the fifth wave and have achieved high vaccination rates, it is time to shift to a balanced approach where we are able to live with COVID-19 and return to normal.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“The vast majority of Albertans are now fully vaccinated. It’s a major factor that now allows us to ease restrictions, but we will do so only as conditions show that our health system’s capacity is recovering. Albertans can help make that possible by getting every vaccine dose they are eligible for.”
Jason Copping, Health Minister
Subsequent steps will see changes to working from home, masking requirements, large venue capacity limits and indoor social gathering limits, with a final step removing isolation requirements and COVID-specific measures in continuing care settings. The lifting of restrictions will progress once pressures on the health-care system have sufficiently eased.
Effective Feb. 8 at 11:59 p.m.:
- Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) ends, along with most associated restrictions.
- Entertainment venues will continue to have some specific rules in place:
- Restrictions on sale of food and beverages and consumption while seated in audience settings will be removed.
- Restrictions on closing times, alcohol service, table capacity in restaurants and interactive activities will remain in force.
- For all businesses, venues and facilities – whether they were previously eligible for the REP or not – capacity limits are removed, except for:
- Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000, which will be limited to 500.
- Facilities with capacity of 1,000-plus, which will be limited to 50 per cent.
Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 13:
- Masks will no longer be required for all children and youth in schools.
- Masks will no longer be required in any setting for children aged 12 and under.
Effective March 1:
- Any remaining provincial school requirements (including cohorting) will be removed.
- Screening prior to youth activities will no longer be required.
- Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues.
- Limits on social gatherings will be removed.
- Provincial mask mandate will be removed.
- Mandatory work from home removed.
To be determined based on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downwards
- COVID-specific measures in continuing care will be removed.
- Mandatory isolation becomes a recommendation only.