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Content on this page recently changed. Find French language Information on K-12 learning during COVID-19. A revised French translation of this page will be available soon.

Reporting update

Updated reporting for COVID-19 cases in schools took effect January 18.

Overview

We are working closely with health experts and education partners to make sure schools are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources and guidance on this page are prepared for school authorities to follow in ways that make sense for their local situations.

Information to help parents and students have a safe school year can be found at K-12 learning during COVID-19.

Diploma exams

Diploma exams remain optional for rest of the school year. Students and their families can choose whether to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams.

Learn more about writing diploma exams this year.

School health measures

Schools must consider the following health measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Daily health checks

    Children

    Children under 18, including all students who attend kindergarten through Grade 12 and high school students over 18, must complete the Alberta Health Daily Checklist for Children under 18 before going to school, child care or other activities.

    PDF versions:

    English | French | Arabic | Traditional Chinese | Simplified ChinesePunjabi | Hindi | Tagalog | Vietnamese | Spanish | Urdu | SomaliKorean (English and French versions contain minor updates from December 12, 2020. Other translations will be updated soon.)

    Letter to parents from the Chief Medical Officer of Health (October 30)

    Adults

    School staff and visitors must review the Alberta Health Daily Checklist to determine if they may enter a school.

  • Hygiene and illness
    • Routinely screen all staff and students
    • Create a strict stay-at-home policy for any students or staff with symptoms of COVID-19
    • Set hand hygiene expectations when entering and exiting the school and classrooms, and before and after eating
    • Regularly remind students and staff of respiratory etiquette:
      • cover coughs and sneezes
      • avoid touching your face
      • dispose of used tissues promptly
      • practice hand hygiene
  • Staff with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions or risk factors
    • Staff with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions or risk factors should consult a physician and discuss options with their school board.
    • In addition to consulting with a physician, Albertans can assess the risk of experiencing severe health outcomes from COVID-19.
       
  • Work arrangements for school staff
    • Local school authorities, as employers, are responsible for decisions relating to school staff continuing to work at school or working from home.
    • School authorities’ decisions and approaches must continue to follow Occupational Health and Safety and provincial health measures.
       

School safety measures

Schools must consider the following safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Masks
    • Grade 4 to 12 students and all staff must wear masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including on school buses and shared areas such as hallways. Some school jurisdictions may have additional mask use practices that go beyond the government's requirements.
    • Masks are not required while students are seated in the classroom during instruction if following the physical distancing guidance for schools.
    • Masks are required in the classroom when close contact between students, or students and staff, is occurring. Masks should be used for the duration of this activity.
    • Exceptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.
    • Mask use for kindergarten to grade 3 students is optional.
    • All students and staff received 2 reusable masks for the 2020-21 school year. The Alberta government distributed more than 1.6 million masks to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff.
    • School staff also received one reusable face shield to use in schools at their discretion. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.
    • COVID-19 orders: Chief Medical Officer of Health Order 33-2020 – Masks requirements in Schools
       
  • Cleaning
    • Enhance cleaning and disinfecting practices.
    • Clean all areas of the school daily.
    • Clean washrooms and high-touch surfaces multiple times a day.
    • Regularly schedule deep cleaning when students are not present.
       
  • Physical distancing and grouping
    • Practice physical distancing when possible.
    • Emphasize other hygiene practices in classrooms, buses and during activities when physical distancing may not be possible.
    • Reorganize rooms to allow for more physical space.
    • Create cohorts of students by class where possible.
    • Guide foot traffic flow through entrances and hallways by using markers on the floor or pylons/barriers.
    • Avoid large gatherings like assemblies.
       
  • Shared items
    • Create a “no sharing policy” - all students should have their own supplies.
    • Clean equipment between uses if students or staff share anything.
       
  • School buses
    • Mandatory masks for grade 4 to 12 students, and drivers.
    • Increase cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces.
    • Maintain a protective zone for the driver.
    • Assign students to seats that are grouped with other household members.
    • Use loading and unloading procedures that support physical distancing of 2 metres between students when possible.
       
  • Additional supports
    • 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer that is safe for children were distributed to all school authorities based on student population.
    • 2 contactless thermometers were given to each school.
       

Health and safety posters

Schools can use the following posters to promote important safety practices.

Additional federal funding

Government of Canada safe return to class fund

The federal government is transferring funds to every province to support a safe return to school. Alberta’s share of these funds is $262 million, made in 2 equal installments.

School authorities can use this additional funding for COVID-19-related expenses, including:

  • staffing
  • adapting learning spaces and personal protective equipment
  • cleaning and safety considerations for schools and buses
  • supports for special needs students, and online learning and teacher training
  • $250 million is being distributed on a per-student basis, with the additional $12 million dedicated to support school authorities who are seeing a large influx in enrolment due to increased demand for their online learning programs.
  • Alberta allocation – Government of Canada safe return to class fund (PDF, 498 KB)