This page is for teachers and school administrators. For information for parents and students, visit K-12 learning during COVID.

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.

What's new

Expanded COVID-19 rapid screening test program

In the next few weeks, we will expand the rapid testing in schools program to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and safely continue in-person learning.

  • Testing may be offered at up to 300 schools in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie, including public, catholic and francophone schools.
  • Testing may also be available at schools in other communities or school boards as directed by Alberta Health.
  • Schools will be selected based on a variety of factors, including the prevalence of COVID-19 in the school or community and whether a school has had multiple outbreaks or school-acquired cases since the start of the school year.
  • Schools will inform staff and parents when rapid testing is scheduled for their school. Participation is optional and consent forms will be collected from students who choose to participate.
  • 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 screening tests are considered preliminary and must be confirmed by a more accurate lab-confirmed test at an Alberta Health Services assessment centre.
  • Learn more: Rapid screening tests - School program (PDF, 191 KB) (Updated April 13, 2021)

Updated daily checklist and resource guide

Updated restrictions - sport and performance

Effective February 8, students can participate in indoor and outdoor sport and performance activities with the following restrictions:

Class or course-based activities

  • Physical education or performance arts programs may take place in facilities outside of school if students remain in their class cohort and all health protocols are followed.
  • Find the complete list of approved off-site facilities in sections 1, 2 and 3 of Appendix A of CMOH Order 02-2021. Off-site facilities can be accessed through existing Joint Use Agreements or through other arrangements.

Non-class or course-based activities (including athletics)

These include extra-curricular activities where students mix with other students who are not part of their regular class cohort.

  • Lessons, practices and conditioning activities may occur for indoor team-based minor sports/activities and school athletics (not games).
  • Maximum 10 individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
  • All participants must maintain physical distancing from each other at all times (3 metres indoors or 2 metres outdoors).
  • Students must wear a mask at all times, except when engaged in the physical activity.
  • Coaches and trainers must wear a mask at all times.
  • There must be limited access to change rooms, including for accelerated arrival and departure, for emergencies and for washroom use.

Learn more about Alberta's path forward, our 4-step plan to ease restrictions while protecting the health system.

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 Chinese | Persian | Punjabi | Hindi | Tagalog | Vietnamese | Spanish | Urdu | Somali | Korean (All versions updated February 2021.)

    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 transferred 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 (Updated February 2021) (PDF, 139 KB)