EDMONTON (CityNews) – As schools plan to reopen across the country over the next few weeks and cities and governments announce plans for student and staff safety, CityNews is here to help navigate the new rules and practices as you send your kids to class in the middle of a pandemic.
Here’s everything you to know regarding Back to School 2020.
First possible transmission of COVID-19 confirmed at Edmonton school
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has confirmed the first possible transmission of COVID-19 in a school. Two cases of infection have been confirmed at Waverley School in Edmonton.
Schools must stay open during pandemic to protect future female leaders: Canadian teachers
Schools need to stay open despite some declaring isolated cases of COVID-19 or working mothers will suffer, suggests the head of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
Parents and students continue to face obstacles with online learning
Online learning in Alberta exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but parents say it’s been a bumpy road so far.
Here’s a look at Back to School across the country.
More COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in Alberta schools
Alberta is responding to more COVID-19 cases in schools. Carly Robinson has more on the school situation, as well as what education minister Adriana Lagrange had to say in an exclusive interview with 660 News.
46 schools reporting COVID-19 cases: advocacy group
Nearly 50 schools are experiencing COVID-19 cases just three weeks into the new year. That’s according to the virus tracker set up by the group Support our Students (SOS) Alberta which shows 46 Alberta schools are reporting at least one positive COVID-19 case.
More schools have COVID-19 cases than reported, says advocacy group
A student advocacy group says more schools are being affected by COVID-19 than what the government has reported.
Alberta loosens rules for singing, wind instruments as long as precautions taken
Alberta’s top doctor says people can sing and play wind instruments indoors once again, provided COVID-19 precautions are in place.
Back to school for some. Private learning pods for others.
In today’s Big Story podcast, it’s been a chaotic and eventful—and still not yet close to done—return to schools across Canada. A majority of parents have chosen to return their kids to the classroom.
Coping with back-to-school anxiety
Stress levels are high as kids return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the signs might not be obvious. Dilshad Burman speaks with a child and youth therapist on how to recognize clues that your kids may have anxiety.
School advocacy group asks for more details on COVID-19 outbreaks
A public school advocacy group believes the government’s COVID-19 reporting system doesn’t go far enough.
Back to school: Spotting signs of anxiety and how to cope
The start of a new school year is stressful enough as kids prep for a new grade and make the transition from summer to study mode. Throw in COVID-19 and the worries are multiplied tenfold.
Calgary, Edmonton fail to meet Harvard metric for reopening schools
One of the most prestigious universities in North America says schools can reopen safely.
According to data from Harvard, schools can safely operate during the pandemic if a city’s COVID-19 load stays under 25 cases per 100,000 people.
COVID-19 exposures in schools across Alberta
Nearly 100 students at Ross Shepherd High School need to self isolate for 14 days, after a COVID-19 exposures. As Carly Robinson explains, anyone in a class with someone who has the virus is considered a close contact.
Thousands of students return to schools as new COVID-19 cases emerge
Thousands more students returned to class under new pandemic precautions Tuesday, as public health officials in Ottawa said they were assessing the risk to 200 students and staff linked to a handful of cases.
From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country
Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Edmonton doctors call school re-entry guidelines confusing
A group of Edmonton doctors are calling Alberta’s school re-entry plan inconsistent with the instructions from both the provincial and federal health guidelines. Sarolta Saskiw has that story.
Health crisis raising questions about public and private school systems
The public health crisis has parents across the country looking for the safest choice for their kids and it’s leading to a rise in pod and private schooling, but there are concerns the fragmenting of education could put the future of public schools at risk, setting up a two-tiered system.
Edmonton Public Schools suspending its School Resources Officer program for 20/21 school year
EPS’ Board of Trustees is introducing the Youth Enhanced Deployment (YED) model, which will see police officers trained with youth be assigned to two areas of the city – the north and south, and they will respond to calls in schools and the community. This model will only be in place for the 20/21 school year.
Online learning could lead to larger class sizes, say advocates
As teachers are being moved last minute from teaching physical classes to online learning, there’s worry class sizes may start to increase.
Edmonton students start first day of school amid COVID-19 pandemic
This is a big week for young students across Edmonton, as many start their very first day of school. Sarolta Saskiw finds out how some kids feel about returning back to class.
Post-cry sniffles get boy sent home from class, school cites COVID-19 fears
An Edmonton boy, like many others, cried on his first day of school, and as his tears finally subsided he had a few sniffles in his nose. His school was prompt to send him home for those post-tears sniffles, citing COVID-19 concerns.
More than half disapprove of government’s handling of education: ATA survey
As kids continue to roll into school this week, the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) has released a survey regarding the government’s return-to-school plan.
Education Minister trying to reassure parents schools are as safe as possible
s more students return to the classroom this week, anxieties and confusion continue to mount as parents worry about whether the province has done enough to protect their kids.
Back-to-school frustration highlights need to separate science and state
Provincial medical health officers facing heat over how they’re handling back to school messaging. Once seen as heroes, some now facing questions about how close they’ve become to the politics of the pandemic.
Federal school funding to be used for staff, increased enrollment, cleaning: LaGrange
The provincial government has announced what it will do with the $262 million in education funding from the federal government. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced $250 million of that money will be given to school authorities based on a per-student model for COVID-19 issues.
Concerns rise over mental health of children amid COVID-19 pandemic
A report is highlighting the mental load students are carrying into the new school year. The Raising Canada 2020 report shows children are struggling across the board.
Alberta Education Minister to hold meeting with school boards over federal funding
Alberta’s Education Minister, Adriana LaGrange, will meet with school boards on Wednesday to discuss how a big injection of federal funding will be distributed.
Anxious back-to-school shopping
It’s the last weekend for back-to-school shopping and families are anxious about the return to the classroom.
The Alberta government says teachers’ “fearmongering” by alleging province gave out ill-fitted masks
The Alberta government is decrying social media posts showing some teachers putting on overly large masks from the UCP as “misinformation” and “fearmongering.”
Plan for inevitable COVID-19 cases in schools, says chief public health officer
Canada’s chief public health officer says families should expect to see cases of COVID-19 in schools as children head back to class in the coming weeks. Dr. Theresa Tam says it is important that each school have a plan and that everyone knows what to do when there’s an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Edmonton Public thankful for federal dollars, ‘disappointed’ it didn’t come from the province
Edmonton’s largest school board has been calling for more funding to deal with COVID-19, and now they are getting— just not from the level of government they expected. Carly Robinson has more on the $262 million the federal government are putting into Alberta schools.
Teachers union says class sizes growing despite online learning options
Parents betting on online classes clearing up space in classrooms may be wrong. A teachers union claims staff are being pulled into virtual education and it’s affecting class sizes.
Feds announce up to $2B in funding to help provinces safely reopen schools
The prime minister has confirmed the federal government will be providing up to $2 billion in additional funding to help provinces and territories safely reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberta getting $262M in federal school funding
The Alberta government will receive just over $262 million from the federal government for back to school preparations. The money is part of the $2 billion in additional funding from the federal government to help provinces and territories ensure that kids can safely return to class this fall.
Getting your kid used to wearing a mask for school
Some Alberta school boards are delaying their first day of class to give teachers more time to prepare. Carly Robinson speaks with a respirologist about getting your kids used to wearing a mask.
Group collects school supplies for families in need
Going back to school is already tough for families in need and that stress is doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why one Edmonton youth group is giving back.
A live discussion with Edmonton Public Schools
Carly Robinson sits down with Edmonton Public School Chair, Trisha Estabrooks, to talk about Back to School.
Black Gold School Division delaying school restart
The Black Gold School Division (BGSD) is delaying the start of the school year.
The school division announced the first day of school will take place starting on Sept. 8.
How many COVID-19 outbreaks will it take to close schools?
How many outbreaks and how many COVID-19 cases will pop up before schools close down?
That’s a question many parents are asking as they prepare their kids for back to school, wondering how long this will last.
Back-to-school mask concerns
As thousands of Canadian school kids get ready to head back to school, many parents are still trying to figure out mask rules and regulations. Nigel Newlove reports.
Parents face loss of income if children fall ill returning to school
Canadian parents going back to the office are facing the possibility of entering a two-week quarantine if their child is exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom.
Stuart Rudner, an employment lawyer from Toronto, says, “[Parents] shouldn’t have to worry about losing their job,” if their kids get sick.
Education protests across Alberta
Students, parents and teachers protested outside UCP MLA offices Friday, demanding more resources and a delay for Alberta’s back-to-school plan. Courtney Theriault has that story.
Keeping your kids safe as they head back to school
There are a lot of concerns surrounding children’s health as they head back to school. We chat with Dr. Leighanne Parkes, infectious disease specialist and microbiologist at the Jewish General Hospital, for tips and tricks to help kids stay safe.
Alberta will not delay start of school year
Alberta Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange says the province will not be delaying the start of the 2020/21 school year, despite a request by the Alberta Teachers’ Association to wait until after Labour Day.
However, LaGrange says school boards can make these decisions on their own.
Parents to protest back-to-school plan across Alberta
Parents upset with the government’s back-to-school plan are taking part in protests across the province on Friday.
Demonstrators will appear at dozens of offices belonging to UCP MLAs to protest against the lack of funding and resources to keep students and staff safe when they head back to school.
Alberta’s top doctor addresses back-to-school plan during COVID-19 update.
As we get closer to schools reopening, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw is focusing on the evidence driving their back to school plan.
Hinshaw notes many parents and children are nervous about attending classes in just a few weeks and have wanted to know why she has recommended kids return to class in the middle of a pandemic.
Government could be responsible for online education pitfalls: lawyer
Getting kids equal access to quality education is a challenge with COVID-19 keeping many vulnerable students at home.
But when those kids are immunocompromised or living with someone who is, technology becomes a big part of the solution.
Is the internet going to fall down when the kids go back to school?
A school year relying heavily on kids being connected may see some left behind if they can’t get online.
As parents and school boards try to get kids connected there’s also a chance the internet may not be able to keep up.
ATA requests school start delay
The Alberta Teachers’ Association is asking the province for the start of school to be delayed until after Labour Day to give teachers more time to prepare. Bailey Nitti has more on the concerns brought forward by the ATA.
First Nations COVID-19 back-to-school innovation
As schools across the country struggle with how to keep students safe, a First Nation school near Regina has come up with a unique solution which combines traditional knowledge and cutting edge technology. Nigel Newlove reports.
ATA president to meet with Education Minister over back to school concerns
As concerns mount over school re-entry in Alberta, a meeting is happening Wednesday between the president of the Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Minister of Education.
But with classes set to resume in just days, is this meeting coming too late?
Books, computers and face masks! Safety top of mind for back-to-school shoppers
It’s the back-to-school shopping season and a new survey shows where parents’ priorities are and what they’re willing to pay to keep their kids safe.
This year’s back-to-school shopping will look different as face masks become the new must-have fashion accessory with parents stocking up on safety supplies in addition to books and bags.
Few details known on outbreak plan for Alberta schools
Alberta health officials are still hammering out details on their outbreak guidance document which will recommend what schools and parents should do if their children become infected with COVID-19.
Few details were given during the latest COVID-19 update on what the province plans to do if an outbreak occurs in a classroom.
Thousands of face shields to be donated to Alberta teachers
An Ontario company is donating thousands of face shields to Alberta teachers.
The Canadian Shield, based in Waterloo, said it’s providing 112,000 shields to the Ministry of Education to be given to teachers and other staff to protect them from exposure to COVID-19.
How COVID-19 is changing back-to-school shopping and budgets
Vonny Sweetland has yet to decide if he will be sending his 12-year-old sister Josephine back to class in September, but just in case he does, he’s been stocking up on supplies for months.
He picks up hand sanitizer when he sees it in stores, grabbed new masks last month, bought a fresh uniform and has been testing out Josephine’s muscle power with some new lunch containers.
Many parents nervous about return of school, plan to send kids anyway: poll
With only weeks until classes resume, a new survey suggests the majority of Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school but most would want classes cancelled if there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in their community.
The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies is the latest to take parents’ temperature as provinces prepare to reopen schools after sending children home this spring when the pandemic arrived.
Local teachers create book to help with back to school during COVID-19
There’s a lot of questions leading up to the first day back at school since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That’s why two Edmonton teachers decided to create ‘We can’t mask our excitement,’ a book to help kids understand things will be different. Carly Robinson reports.
From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country
Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Here is a look at what the various provinces have said about getting kids back to classes.
Grad students feel ‘overwhelmed:’ study
A new study says university graduate students are feeling overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CityNews’ Brandon Rowe has the details
‘Simply unacceptable:’ Alberta teachers unhappy with back-to-school plan
The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) is still concerned about the government’s return-to-school plan.
ATA President Jason Schilling is demanding an immediate meeting with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to discuss teachers’ issues with the government’s proposal to send children back to school amid COVID-19.
Alberta group wants education minister to intervene in alternative schooling options
More and more groups are coming forward with alternative options for returning back to school this fall. As Sarolta Saskiw reports, there are some who are concerned about these new options and want Alberta’s Education Minister to intervene.
‘It’s OK to not be OK’: How to help kids cope with COVID-19 school stress
It’s normal for kids to get back-to-school butterflies as the bell ring draws near. But on top of the familiar concerns about fitting in and getting good grades, kids need to deal with a new set of stresses this fall as they head back to class in the thick of a pandemic.
From the social pressures of being sorted into class cohorts to fears about bringing the novel coronavirus back home, experts say returning to school will likely provoke some anxiety for students of all ages.
Advocacy group continues to raise alarm on back to school plan
With just weeks until Alberta students return to class, one advocacy group says returning to school isn’t safe and wants the fall semester pushed back.
“We’re running out of time to really have some clarity on what the school year is going to look like. Parents still don’t have the information that they need in order to make an informed decision.”
Alberta selects advisors for new curriculum, sparks concern among NDP
As the UCP government moves ahead with a revamped K-12 curriculum for Alberta schools, the opposition NDP is sounding the alarm about a new board of advisors appointed to assist with the changes.
There are eight advisors each tasked with focusing on different subjects, who will work alongside hundreds of teachers also reviewing the curriculum.
Alberta teachers, school staff should be tested before classes start: Hinshaw
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says all teachers and school staff across the province should get tested for COVID-19 before students return to classrooms in September.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says they should make arrangements to be tested at least once before schools reopen then regularly throughout the school year.
Edmonton gym opens as online school work space
A private gym in Alberta is opening up its 13,000-square-foot facility to kids this fall, so they can do their online school work while staying safely distanced.
FitSet Ninja gym in Edmonton just launched registration for students whose parents can’t work from home to monitor or help kids with their work, but don’t feel safe returning to in-person classes.
Substitutes for isolating teachers difficult to find: ATA
Normally when a teacher gets sick a substitute is called in–but in this pandemic era, what happens if a teacher needs to self-isolate for two weeks?
Will there be enough subs to go around and can they cover multiple days or weeks at a time?
Class size concerns loom over some teachers
For Renee Englot, she’s worried about her students’ stress levels when they come back to school and see 35 of them will need to pack into a single classroom, unable to physical distance.
Are plastic shields a school solution?
Ken Franczek knows that parents are worried about sending their children back to school in the fall. That led him to coming up with what he says is a possible safety solution. Darcy Ropchan with more.
Notley calls for Education Minister to resign
Another provincial minister is being asked to step down by Alberta’s official opposition.
On Friday, Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley called out Education Minister Adriana LaGrange for not putting the health and safety of students and teachers first.
More questions raised after UCP provide update on curriculum review
The Alberta government says it’s moving forward on its campaign promise to rewrite the K-12 curriculum, but some are still wondering what exactly is changing.
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange provided an updated Thursday on the review of the curriculum launched last summer.
Alberta government to release more details on education curriculum review
The United Conservatives will provide more details on what’s next for the province’s education curriculum.
Last August, The UCP launched a panel to review changes to the curriculum introduced by the previous NDP government.
Alberta Education Minister to talk next steps regarding K-12 curriculum
Alberta Teachers Association weighs in on mandatory masks
Paper, pencil, lunch and now a face mask.
That will soon be the normal in Alberta schools after the United Conservative government announced mandatory masks for grades 4-12 students and staff.
Masks to be mandatory for Grade 4-12 students and staff in September
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says mask use for Grade 4-12 students, as well as staff, will be mandatory in Alberta.
LaGrange made the announcement during an update on the province’s back to school plan Tuesday morning.
Edmonton Public Schools’ Superintendent Darrel Robertson and Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks speaks about the re-entry strategy.
More details coming on Alberta’s back-to-school plan
Parents will soon have a better idea about Alberta’s back-to-school plan.
The province’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will host a joint conference Tuesday morning to provide an update on safety measures for the school re-entry plan.
Education minister Adriana LaGrange and chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw provide an update on returning students back to school this fall.
Edmonton parents, teachers rally for more school funding
Parents and teachers gathered in south Edmonton Friday to voice their concerns about what the upcoming school year will look like. As Sarolta Saskiw reports, they’d like to see the UCP government commit more money to schools.
School re-entry plans made for privileged, says advocates
Some parents who can’t work and homeschool say re-entry plans are making them choose between safety and education for their kids.
Back-to-school: Why each province’s plan differs
When it comes to back-to-school every province is doing their own thing to send students back to class in the fall. Rachelle Elsiufi has details.
Alberta officials answer questions on back to school plan as classes set to resume
With many uncertainties still surrounding Alberta’s back to school plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Education and Chief Medical Officer of Health hosted a Facebook livestream on Tuesday night addressing some questions.
The chat lasted half an hour, generating over 8,000 comments — with the vast majority of them being negative towards the government’s plan.
Ending racism within the Edmonton area school system
A group of parents gathered at the Alberta Legislature Saturday to protest against racism within the Edmonton area school systems. Sarolta Saskiw has that story.
Some Alberta parents not sending children back to school
Students will be back in school this fall in Alberta, but not every parent is choosing to let their children attend. Darcy Ropchan with more.
Parents, teachers share concerns about Alberta schools reopening
Students, parents and teachers shared their concerns with Alberta schools reopening in the fall at an NDP organized news conference Wednesday. Sarolta Saskiw reports.
Concerns linger as Alberta announces return to school
The Alberta’s Teachers’ Association is calling for safety to be the number one priority as schools get ready to return in the fall.
Following an announcement by Premier Jason Kenny and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange regarding schools returning in the fall, ATA president Jason Schilling stressed the importance of maintaining safety measures for schools, staff, and students.
Students heading back to classrooms this fall
Students will be back in classrooms this fall, not continuing their education online.
Premier Jason Kenney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange revealed the province’s COVID-19 back-to-school plan Tuesday, announcing K-12 students would be returning to their physical classes this coming school year.
Parents look for answers ahead of school year
Some parents say there’s been a lack of leadership from the Kenney government over the upcoming school year, and that they still have a lot of questions.
Pointing to British Columbia’s five-stage school reopening plan, Barbra Silva with Support Our Students Alberta says there’s a lot of confusion from parents when it comes to the basics.
Premier Jason Kenney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange update Albertans on the school re-entry plan for the 2020-21 school year and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health will provide an update on COVID-19.
Province to announce back-to-school plan Tuesday
Alberta will provide an update on the provincial back to school plans at 3 p.m. Tuesday after schools were shut down earlier this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Jason Kenney said during Question Period Monday that the province would outline its strategy.