What's new: Return to in-person learning

To support their overall wellbeing, ECS to Grade 12 students returned to classrooms on January 10 with measures to continue learning safely:

  • At-home rapid tests and medical grade masks will be delivered to schools in phases. Shipments started the the week of January 3 and all schools will have their initial shipments by January 14.
  • Beginning January 11, students in grades 4 to 9 and their parents can access free online tutoring through new LearnAlberta's e-Tutoring Hub to catch up on important skills and learning. The online tutoring services will be expanded over time based on feedback from school authorities, parents and students.
  • Important health measures already in place will continue to protect students in classrooms.
  • We will continue to work with school authorities on shifts to at home learning if needed.

News: Students returning to in-person learning Jan. 10 (January 5, 2022)

Attending school safely

  • Public reporting, outbreak definition and contact notification in schools

    The rapid rise of cases has required changes to case investigation protocols, where resources are being focused on the highest risk settings and individuals.

    More information will be posted when available.

    Last updated: December 30, 2021

  • At-home rapid testing program

    Last updated: January 5, 2022

  • Daily health checklist

    Children

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

    The checklist is also available in the following additional languages: Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese. Please note that these translations are currently out of date.

    Adults

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

    Some school authorities may also require adults to provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative lab-conducted (PCR) test or rapid testing result at their own cost before they can enter a school.

  • Health measures

    Isolation requirements

    The mandatory isolation period for people with core symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition is:

    • Fully vaccinated: 5 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer, plus 5 days of wearing a mask at all times when around others outside of home.
    • Not fully vaccinated: 10 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.
    • If a person tests negative, they should still stay home and away from others until symptoms resolve.

    Core symptoms

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Loss of sense of smell or taste
    • Sore throat (adults only)
    • Runny nose (adults only)

    Prevention measures

    • Schools are encouraged to:
      • promote frequent hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette
      • continue environmental measures such as cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces
      • have a plan for students and staff who develop symptoms to wait in a separate area until they can go home
    • Masks are mandatory for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades. Masks are recommended for students attending kindergarten to Grade 3.
    • Elementary schools are to implement class cohorting.
    • Zone Medical Officers of Health and their designates are available to support school authorities throughout the province.
  • Masks

    Mask distribution

    • Medical-grade masks will be distributed through schools to students and school staff through a phased approach, starting with a 2-week supply of masks (2 masks per day, 20 masks total) for each student and staff member. When fully distributed, staff and students will have received an 8-week supply. Both pediatric and adult medical grade mask distribution will be coordinated through Alberta's PPE Task Force.

    Masking requirements

    • Masking is mandatory for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.
    • Masks are recommended for students attending kindergarten to Grade 3.
    • Masks are required on school buses.
    • Schools may choose to have additional masking requirements.
    • Schools should support individuals who choose to wear masks, beyond the current public health measures.

    Last updated: January 13, 2022

  • Shifts to at-home learning

    • School authorities continue to have the discretion to shift a class or individual grade to short-term at-home/online learning if needed to address operational challenges at a school.
    • Approval from the Minister of Education is required for a short-term shift of one or more schools or an entire school authority to at-home/online learning for operational reasons.
    • A decision for a school authority request will be based on student absentee rates, the ability of a school or school authority to have staff available to operate in-school classes, and other relevant information including local health data, if available.

    Last updated: January 5, 2022

  • Protecting students under 12

    • Because children 5 to 11 only recently became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and children younger than 5 are not eligible, it is important that people around them are immunized to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
    • Students, parents/guardians, staff and visitors are encouraged to assess their personal risk factors and/or the risk factors for their families and take precautions that make sense in their situations.

    Last updated: December 30, 2021

  • Vaccinations

    Vaccine eligibility

    • All staff and students ages 5+ are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • COVID-19 vaccines help prevent infection and severe illness. All vaccines are safe, effective and save lives.

    Proof of vaccination

    • We strongly encourage all school authorities to develop policies that require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for teachers, staff and any other adult who enters a school.
    • This does not include students. A school authority cannot deny students access to education due to immunization status.

    Last updated: November 23, 2021

Resources

Provincial assessment

Diploma exams

  • To further support students whose learning is disrupted by the 2022 winter break extension, January diploma exams have been cancelled.
  • A decision will be made later in 2022 regarding April, June and August diploma exams.
  • Diploma exam weighting will temporarily change to 10% from 30% for the 2021-22 school year in response to feedback from students, parents and education partners about stress and anxiety around academic achievement.
  • Diploma exams will be offered for every diploma exam course in April, June and August administrations.
  • The Ministers of Advanced Education and Education have sent an open letter to Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to encourage them to further consider the impact the pandemic has had on students who are applying to their post secondary institutions.

Learn more about writing diploma exams this year.

Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs)

  • Grade 9 PATs (including Part A English Language Arts, Français/French Language Arts and K&E English Language Arts), will be delayed to the week of January 20, 2022.
  • Schools piloting the draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum are not required to administer the Grade 6 PATs for the subject(s) they are piloting. It is mandatory for schools to administer all Grade 6 PATs for the subject(s) they are not piloting and it is mandatory for schools to administer all Grade 9 PAT subjects.

Support for COVID-19 learning disruptions

Online tutoring services: Grades 4 to 9

The e-Tutoring Hub will help students catch up on important skills and learning they may have fallen behind on due to the pandemic. It launched on January 11, 2022 with free, pre-recorded video tutoring sessions for students in Grades 4 to 9 to strengthen their literacy and numeracy skills.

Later in the year, the free online tutoring resources will be expanded to cover more grades and subjects, including live tutoring. Feedback from school authorities, parents and students will be used to help inform the topics for new tutoring sessions.

Online tutoring sessions on the e-Tutoring Hub will be:

  • free, with unlimited access for all students, parents and school staff
  • up to 15 minutes in length for younger students and up to 60 minutes for older students
  • offered live during the school day, late afternoons and evenings to meet the needs of students and their families
  • designed and delivered to protect individual privacy
  • available 24-7 as recorded videos
  • developed by Alberta certificated teachers working at Alberta Education

Find out more and view tutoring resources on the e-Tutoring Hub at new LearnAlberta.

Fall 2021 funding for targeted programming: Grades 1 to 3

Up to $45 million will support younger students who have fallen behind during the pandemic and more flexibility will be provided for students writing diploma exams. School authorities have the flexibility to use this funding to design literacy and numeracy programming interventions to best meet the needs of their students. Programming will be above and beyond classroom learning.

Approximately $30 million will be invested in fall 2021 for students in Grades 2 and 3. Lists of approved funding for public and private school authorities are available. Up to $15 million will be allocated to students in Grade 1 in February 2022 in response to feedback received from school authorities.

Focused programming sessions are intended to be provided for up to 16 weeks. School authorities have the flexibility to design the length and frequency of the programming sessions.

Funds will be distributed on a per student basis with a minimum funding amount based on the number of eligible students per school.

In addition to this new funding, the Child and Youth Well-Being Review will explore ways to best support the well-being of children and youth impacted by COVID-19.

Supporting mental health

  • Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about how they are feeling, and let them know they are there for them.
  • If a child needs someone to talk to, they can text CONNECT to the Kids’ Help Phone at 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868. This 24/7, free service offers professional counselling, information and referrals. The Jack.org Alberta COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub also has great information for teens on mental health, self-care and supporting others.
  • If a parent, school staff member or other adult needs someone to talk to, they are encouraged to call the confidential, toll-free, 24/7 mental health helpline at 1-877-303-2642. This helpline is attended by a team that includes nurses, psychologists and social workers.
  • The Alberta Health Services website Help in Tough Times also has helpful information, including the Text4Hope resource, which you can subscribe to for free by texting COVID19HOPE to 393939. It offers 3 months of supportive text messages written by mental health therapists.
  • School authorities can use the Mental Health and Well-Being Continuum of Supports and Services document to enhance mental health supports for students.

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