Province closes schools

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It was probably inevitable given the worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19.

The Government of Alberta issued an order March 15 at 4:30 p.m. closing all schools in the province effective immediately.

“Aggressive additional public health measures are being implemented province-wide to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans, after new cases appear to be spreading into community settings,” reads the news release.

Included in the measures:

  • Effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited;
  • Post-secondary classes are cancelled. Campuses will remain open;
  • All licensed child care facilities, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs are closed indefinitely;
  • All long-term care and other continuing care facilities are advised to limit visitation to essential visitors only;
  • Places of worship are no longer exempt from restrictions on mass gatherings.

The government says additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 56. Three of the new cases are in the Edmonton zone and 14 are in the Calgary zone.

At least two cases identified in the last two days appear to have been acquired through community transmission from an unknown source, and seven cases occurred as a result of a single gathering in the Calgary zone.

“ These decisions are not made lightly . . . but it is crucial we do everything possible to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of Health for Alberta.

In regard to schools, every K-12 student will receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests, will be cancelled.

At this time, diploma exams essential for post-secondary acceptance will continue.

Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.

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