Students across Alberta will return to class for the 2020/21 school year under Scenario 1: In-class learning with enhanced health and safety measures.
- COVID-19 information: Guidance for schools on re-entry scenario 1
- Get the facts: Back to class for 2020-21
Parents, students and school staff must review the self-screening questionnaire each day before going to a school building. Visitors must also use this questionnaire to determine if they may enter a school.
- Self-screening questionnaire (PDF)
People with medical conditions
For students with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions or risk factors, parents should:
- Consult your child’s physician to consider the health risks and make a decision about returning to school that will best support the child.
- Contact your child’s school to discuss available options and support.
Staff should also consult a physician and discuss options with their school board.
A student showing COVID-19 symptoms who has allergies or other pre-existing medical conditions that cause similar symptoms should get at least one negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school.
These symptoms would be their baseline health status. The student can attend school as long as they stay the same. Talk to your school about your child’s pre-existing medical conditions so the school may keep a confidential record of these conditions.
Tool kit and resources
Parents and students can use the following resources to prepare for the new school year.
The following guidance documents provide detailed health measures to help keep students and staff safe at schools.
- Guidance for playgrounds
- Guidance for outdoor fitness
- Guidance for sport, physical activity and recreation
Videos - Returning to school safely
Schools can use the following posters to promote important safety practices.
- Cover your cough (PDF, 3.9 MB)
- Do not enter (PDF, 7.7 MB)
- Healthy distance (PDF, 12.5 MB)
- Personal items (PDF, 19.5 MB)
- Stay safe (PDF, 3.3 MB)
- Wash your hands (PDF, 4.7 MB)
- Wash and sanitize your hands (PDF, 4.5 MB)
Learning at home
There may be situations in which students learn from home. Alberta offers several education options to support this.
If there is a case of COVID-19 at school
If a student shows symptoms at school, parents should pick up the child immediately. The student will be asked to wear a non-medical mask if able to do so safely, and be isolated in a separate room or kept at least 2 metres away from others. Parents should ensure the school has their most up-to-date contact information.
- The zone medical officer of health will work with school authorities to quickly:
- identify cases
- identify close contacts
- create isolation measures when needed
- provide follow-up recommendations
- A COVID-19 case will not automatically lead to school closure. It could be that only the group of students and staff who came in close contact will be required to stay home for 14 days.
- Parents will be notified if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at school and public health officials will contact those who were in close contact with the person.
- Each school authority will support students and staff to learn or work at home if they are required to self-isolate.
School health measures
The school re-entry plan (2020-21 school year) allows schools and parents to prepare for learning while putting student and staff safety first.
The plan offers guidance on a wide range of operational issues including:
- hygiene and health requirements
- student learning
- diploma exams
- mental health and psychological supports for students and staff
Schools should consider the following health measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- 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.
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, 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
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.
- Staff and students under scenario 1 are not currently mandated to wear masks, but may choose to wear one.
- Consider wearing masks when there is prolonged close contact (greater than 15 minutes) and distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
- Create a “no sharing policy” - all students should have their own supplies.
- Clean equipment between uses if students or staff share anything.
- 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.
Assessment and student supports
- August diploma exams will proceed for students taking diploma courses this summer.
- Diploma exams will be offered in every subject in the November and April exam sessions.
Provincial achievement tests (PATs)
- PATs for grades 6 and 9 can be held if in-school classes are available. School authorities can choose to participate.
- School authorities can, as deemed appropriate at the local level, reduce time spent teaching non-core subjects to allow for additional instruction time on core subjects.
- Schools should have mental health supports in place for students and staff.
How we got here
School authorities planned for 3 scenarios to begin the 2020/21 school year. Alberta schools will welcome students in the fall under scenario 1.
- Scenario 1 – In-school classes resume, near-normal operations with health measures
- Scenario 2 – In-school classes partially resume with additional health measures
- Scenario 3 – At home learning continues, in-school classes are cancelled
Health officials will work with school authorities to make the decision to transition to partial in-class learning or at-home learning based on multiple factors including the number of COVID-19 cases in a community or a school and the risk of ongoing transmission.