Thu. May 19th, 2022

Alberta officials said Thursday that there are no plans right now to close schools and move learning online.

Currently, 52 schools across the province have outbreaks, meaning 10 or more cases of COVID-19 have been identified.

In addition, 751 schools are on alert, which is triggered when two or more cases are identified within 14 days.

Prime Minister Jason Kenney said at a news conference Thursday that circumstances are very different now than they were back in May, when students were forced to take classes online as part of restrictions aimed at bending the COVID-19 curve.

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Officials working on rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12: Alberta’s Minister of Health


Officials working on rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12: Alberta’s Minister of Health

“The spring suspension of classroom learning was not due to classroom transmission, which was still relatively low, and it was certainly not due to severe outcomes for younger school children who have a radically lower risk of such outcomes than adults,” Kenney said.

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“But it was rather because the operation of too many schools was weakened by teachers and staff having to isolate themselves and not be able to work.”

Kenney said the biggest thing that has changed has been vaccines, where about 78 percent of eligible students were vaccinated and much of the staff as well.

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“I think it is reasonable to assume that over 90 percent of teachers and school staff are vaccinated, and therefore we have much lower levels of sick teachers and staff, in self-isolation or quarantine.”

This week, the province announced it would bring contact tracing back to schools, something the Alberta government removed at the beginning of the school year.


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Questions about the school-fast COVID-19 test program of the future


Questions about the school-fast COVID-19 test program-29 of the future. September 2021

And that makes six million rapid antigen tests available to parents of children in outbreaks and high-risk schools to help identify whether their children are positive for COVID-19.

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Kenney stressed the importance of classroom learning for children, not just for education, but for their social and developmental health and well-being.


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Edmonton Public Schools urges the province to implement ‘firebreak’, temporarily switching to online learning


Edmonton Public Schools urges the province to implement ‘firebreak’, temporarily switching to online learning

He added that the province is keeping an eye on transmission within schools and the situation may change if necessary.

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“In terms of considering moving to online, if it was necessary to do, if we saw a significant transmission, then of course we would make sure it was an option that needed to be considered.

“But as I mentioned earlier, it is critical to think about the health of our entire children, not just COVID, and to ensure that we maintain their ability to learn personally.”

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