Alberta education minister 'confident students will return' to in-class learning next week
CALGARY -- It's not yet set in stone but students in Alberta should plan to return to classrooms next week, the ministry of education said in a statement Tuesday.
"Alberta Education is committed to a safe return to in-person learning on May 25, however we will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed," read a statement from Nicole Sparrow, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange
"We recognize the importance of resuming in-person learning as soon as it is possible. We are confident students will return back to their classrooms to finish the school year."
Premier Jason Kenney said during a Facebook Live on Tuesday evening that he anticipates schools will reopen in most parts of the province next week and added he expects students will be in classes this fall without the need to wear masks.
Kenney said LaGrange is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday.
Asked on Tuesday if she would be comfortable sending her own children back to school next week, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw had a simple answer.
"Absolutely, yes," she said.
Hinshaw added the decision to move students to online learning on May 7 was based on high rates of community transmission, which put pressure on the school system in terms of the number of people — teachers, students and staff — being forced into isolation.
"I don't believe there to be a public health risk and bringing children back to school. But again, the shifting has been based not on a public health driver but rather on that operational consideration," said Hinshaw.
Alberta added 877 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking the second day in a row the province has reported fewer than 1,000 new daily cases.