The government of Alberta said it is cancelling elementary and high school classes and licensed daycares around the province.
The closures, announced by Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, will apply to all K-12 schools, post-secondary classes, licensed child care, out-of-school care programs and preschools.
Alberta has recorded 56 cases as of Sunday afternoon.
The province had initially planned to keep classes running while asking students to keep their distance from one another. Schools had also been given strict guidelines for how to monitor children, what to look for and when to send them home.
Hinshaw said school officials were telling her it would be impossible to follow the required steps and keep classes going, so she decided to make the change in spite of the massive impact.
“I recognize that this is extremely disruptive for many families and for those working in these sectors. This is not a decision that we are making lightly,” she said. “I made this recommendation after extensive discussion with school boards and in consideration of the cases of community transmissions that were identified over the weekend.”
Schools have not closed, however. Teachers and administrators are expected to continue to work — from home if necessary.
Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said provincial achievement tests are being cancelled this year, but Grade 12 diploma exams needed to get into university will go ahead. She said details were still being worked out as to how to administer those exams.
“We expect every student to receive a final mark and that students will progress to their next grade level next year,” LaGrange said. “We are confident that every student eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.”