Alberta does not expect to move toward online schooling after Spring Break
Thousands of Alberta students will return to in-person classes following Spring Break, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says. (File)
CALGARY -- Alberta recorded the highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since mid-January on Thursday, but the province's top doctor says she doesn't expect to see students learning at home following the holiday break.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said 764 new cases of COVID-19 were added to the province's totals in the past 24 hours, along with three more deaths.
The daily caseload is the highest the province has seen since Jan. 15.
While she implored Albertans to make the right decisions with their activities and actions over the upcoming Easter holiday break, she also cautioned that the province could see a return of stricter restrictions.
However, decisions like that hinge on a number of factors, she said.
"We need to be looking at our new case numbers, we need to be looking at our positivity rate, at our T-value or that growth rate of new cases, obviously variants are another thing to watch, but there is no single metric that will tell us when we need to implement something or not."
Whatever the case may be, Hinshaw said that Alberta students will remain in class for in-person learning following Spring Break.
Back in December, when COVID-19's second wave was taking hold in Alberta, the government announced changes to student learning that involved online classes.
Grade 7 to 12 students finished up the final few weeks of their 2020 school year in virtual classrooms while the remainder of students joined them for an additional week following the Christmas break.
On Thursday, she reassured parents that no such decision has been made for schooling after Spring Break.
"That's not something at this point in time that we would be requiring," she said, adding that that decision relies on a number of different factors.
"Schools themselves aren't seen to be a significant issue, but what we all need to do is minimize community transmission to keep schools and other settings safe."
She also said that even with cases currently trending upwards, it's still a much different scenario that it was back at the end of 2020.
"Late December was our peak of hospitalizations with just shy of 1,000 people in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19," she said. "We're not seeing that same extremely high peak and we are encouraging people not to travel over Spring Break, to not gather with people outside their households.
"That's going to determine whether or not we need to consider new restrictions in the future."