Catholic board tells par­ents stu­dents won’t re­turn this spring

No of­fi­cial word on can­celling re­main­der of year from Cal­gary Board of Ed­u­ca­tion

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION - EVA FER­GU­SON efer­gu­son@postmedia.com

The Cal­gary Catholic School Dis­trict sent a note to par­ents Tues­day of­fi­cially con­firm­ing stu­dents won’t re­turn to class this spring.

And while Al­berta’s re­launch strat­egy an­nounced by Premier Jason Ken­ney con­firms stu­dents across the prov­ince will con­tinue with vir­tual learn­ing for the re­main­der of this school year, pub­lic school par­ents in Cal­gary have yet to be given the of­fi­cial word from the Cal­gary Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“The provin­cial gov­ern­ment has informed us that in-school classes for Kinder­garten to Grade 12 stu­dents will re­main sus­pended for the re­main­der of this school year and will be re-eval­u­ated in the fall,” said Bryan Szum­las, su­per­in­ten­dent of the Cal­gary Catholic School Dis­trict.

But with COVID-19 ex­pected to still be an on­go­ing con­cern in Septem­ber, Szum­las is also ask­ing par­ents to pro­vide thoughts and ideas about how a re­turn to school might look and ways that risk of catch­ing or spread­ing the virus can be mit­i­gated.

“As we look for­ward to the fall and the pos­si­ble re­open­ing of schools, we are start­ing to plan what this will look like and we in­vite your feed­back by par­tic­i­pat­ing in an open-ended sur­vey,” Szum­las said, point­ing to an on­line plat­form used by the CCSD for par­ent and staff com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Last Thurs­day, Ken­ney an­nounced plans to start re­open­ing Al­berta over the next few weeks pend­ing con­trolled num­bers of new COVID-19 cases.

With restau­rants, small busi­nesses and hair sa­lons get­ting the OK to re­open by May 14, Ken­ney said school boards es­sen­tially de­cided when schools closed March 16 that they would re­main closed for the du­ra­tion of this aca­demic year.

But Ken­ney is also con­sid­er­ing al­low­ing some schools or spe­cialty pro­grams to open dur­ing the sum­mer months, par­tic­u­larly for at-risk stu­dents who need to catch up on time missed this spring.

But the prov­ince has not pro­vided any de­tails, with talks ex­pected over the next sev­eral weeks with school dis­tricts across the prov­ince.

Ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince’s re­launch strat­egy, schools would be opened dur­ing Stage 2 of the re­launch, the timing of which is yet to be de­ter­mined.

Mean­while, the CBE has not yet an­nounced to par­ents in an of­fi­cial let­ter that classes will not re­turn be­fore the end of June.

Fees are be­ing re­funded for both trans­porta­tion and lunch room su­per­vi­sion at both school dis­tricts, and stu­dents are re­minded that all stan­dard­ized fi­nal ex­ams are can­celled, in­clud­ing diploma ex­ams for Grade 12 stu­dents and provin­cial achieve­ment ex­ams for stu­dents in Grades 6 and 9.

DAR­REN MAKOWICHUK/FILES

The Hill­hurst Com­mu­nity School in Cal­gary sent out its pos­i­tive mes­sage of hope on March 15 as all schools across Al­berta were closed to stu­dents due to the COVID-19 pan­demic.

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