Concerns raised ahead of expected return of in-person learning for Calgary’s Grade 7-12 students

As the list of outbreaks in Alberta schools continues to grow, some are questioning whether school boards should have Grade 7 to 12 students return to in-person learning next week.

The province announced Tuesday that 712 schools — 29 per cent of schools in Alberta — are on watch or outbreak status, a significant jump from the 453 schools reported on April 14.

On that day, Alberta Education approved the requests of the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District to temporarily shift Grade 7 through 12 students to at-home learning for two weeks.

CBE officials confirm they are currently in talks with Alberta Education regarding classroom status.

“We recognize families, staff and students need time to prepare and plan for next week [and we] will share information with families and staff as soon as possible,” the CBE said in a statement to CTV News.

The Calgary Catholic School District has yet to reply to requests for comment from CTV News.

On Monday, the province held an emergency management cabinet committee, but no additional measures for schools were announced.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association calls the lack of progress a “significant irritation.”

“The government must take significant steps immediately to protect the viability of in-person learning,” said ATA president Jason Schilling in a statement, citing the growing number of variants cases of concern in the province.. 

“The virus has adapted, and yet the government’s plan to protect students and staff largely has not.”

The ATA says there are still concerns over substitute teacher shortages, supports for contact tracing and vaccinations for teachers.

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