This page is for parents and students. For information for teachers and school administrators, visit COVID-19 guidance and health measures for K-12 schools.

Overview

Students across Alberta continue to learn during the 2020/21 school year with enhanced health and safety measures.

What's new

Calgary region schools temporarily moving to at-home learning

Starting April 19, grades 7 to 12 students at Calgary Public Schools and Calgary Catholic Schools will temporarily shift to at-home learning for 2 weeks. This includes schools in Airdrie and Cochrane.

The district-wide moves to at-home learning were requested by these school boards to deal with operational pressures due to rising COVID-19 cases.

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

The Alberta Health Daily Checklist for Children under 18 was updated on February 18, 2021 to indicate that individuals who previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the 90 days before being exposed to another case of COVID-19 are not required to quarantine.

Attending school safely

  • 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.

  • Returning to school after an illness

    A student who is required to isolate due to symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat) or due to having COVID-19 can return to school after a minimum of 10 days pass from when symptoms started or after their symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.

    A student who is required to isolate due to symptoms may also return to school if they test negative for COVID-19, as long as they have not been identified as a close contact of a case of COVID-19 and their symptoms are gone.

    Students who have pre-existing medical conditions with symptoms similar to COVID-19

    The first time your child has a symptom that could be caused by COVID-19 or by a known pre-existing medical condition (such as a cough related to asthma), keep your child home and have your child tested for COVID-19.

    Your child should be tested for COVID-19 to confirm that the symptom is not due to COVID-19 before they return to school. This will be considered your child’s baseline health. They may continue to attend school as long as this symptom stays the same and they do not develop any new symptoms.
     

  • 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. The Alberta government distributed more than 1.6 million masks to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff.
    • School staff received one reusable face shield to use in schools at their discretion. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.
    • Mandatory mask requirements in workplaces effective Dec. 8
    • COVID-19 orders: Chief Medical Officer of Health Order 33-2020 – Masks requirements in Schools

     

If a student shows symptoms

Use the following chart to find required and recommended actions to take if a student shows symptoms.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for at least 10 days.

Get COVID-19 test results online through MyHealthRecords
If a student has these symptoms What to do
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Isolate at home for a minimum of 10 days from when symptoms started or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
  • COVID-19 testing is recommended.
  • Can return to school before 10 days only if a COVID-19 test is negative, symptoms are gone, and the student was not a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.
     

One of the following symptoms

  • Chills
  • Sore throat/painful swallowing
  • Runny nose/congestion
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint aches
  • Feeling unwell/fatigued
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
     
  • Stay home from school and monitor for 24 hours. If after 24 hours your symptoms improve, you may return to school when you are feeling better.
  • A COVID-19 test is not required but is available.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.

If a child has any 2 of these symptoms, or after 24 hours, their condition gets worse or they develop a second symptom:

  • COVID-19 test recommended.
  • May return to school after symptoms are gone, even without a COVID-19 test or results.
  • Do not enter any long-term care settings for 10 days and until symptoms have resolved.
  • If test results are positive, isolate at home for at least 10 days and follow instructions received from Alberta Health Services.

If symptoms develop at school

  • The student will be asked to wear a non-medical mask and be isolated in a separate room or kept at least 2 metres away from others.
  • Parents will be contacted to pick up the child immediately. Make sure your school has up-to-date contact information.

Cases and close contacts

Reporting update

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

Parents are notified by their child’s school when a single confirmed case and when multiple confirmed cases are identified within the school. Further supports will be initiated when there are 2 or more cases in a school.

The COVID-19 school status map shows the current status of COVID-19 in K-12 schools across Alberta. Schools with 2 or more confirmed cases will be identified on the map.

  • Classmates and close contacts

    If a student is a close contact of someone confirmed to have COVID-19, they must quarantine and stay home for 14 days. This longer period of time is required because the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2 weeks. Visit Isolation requirements for more detailed information.

    Close contacts include people who:

    • take care of someone with COVID-19 or had contact through touch with the person with COVID-19
    • were close to that person for a long time, or
    • were coughed or sneezed on by that person

    AHS will confirm and contact close contacts when there is a case at school and will contact parents and staff.
    Generally, the entire classroom is considered to be close contacts of the case. This is a cautious approach to identifying close contacts in order to minimize the risk of transmission.

    This means that if a student tests positive for COVID-19, all of their classmates must quarantine and stay home for 14 days. Additionally, all of these classmates should also be tested for COVID-19. Even if a classmate of a case is tested and the result is negative, they still must complete the 14 day quarantine.

  • Household members

    If a student is identified to be a close contact (for example, is a classmate of a student who tests positive), family members of the close contact do not need to quarantine unless the close contact also develops symptoms.

    Family members or other people in the household who had contact with a student while they were infectious (had symptoms) are required to quarantine for 14 days from the last time they were exposed to the sick student.

    Alberta Health Services (AHS) Public Health will determine who is a close contact and how long they are required to quarantine when they complete their investigation.

Additional resources

Videos - learn safely during COVID-19

More videos are available to support safe learning during COVID-19.

Provincial assessment

Diploma exams

All 2020-21 diploma exams are optional this school year due to COVID-19.

  • Students will get an exemption if they choose not to write a diploma exam.
  • To receive an exemption, students need to take the course and get a current school-awarded mark.

Learn more about writing diploma exams this year.

Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)

All 2020-21 PATs are optional this school year due to COVID-19. School authorities can choose to participate. Schools can offer PATs in the following subjects:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • French Language Arts/Français

How we got here

School authorities planned for 3 scenarios for the 2020/21 school year. Alberta schools welcomed students under scenario 1.

We will make the decision in consultation with the chief or local medical officer of heath if a certain school or school authority would need to move to scenario 2 or 3 during the school year. In a situation in which students choose to learn from home, there are several education options to support this.