Concerns over back to school abound as schools prepare for students to learn online or in person

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Hoffman said asking one teacher to look after 30 students does not set them up for success, especially during a pandemic.

“This is not the fault of the school principal. This isn’t the fault of Edmonton Catholic Schools,” Hoffman said. “They’re doing the absolute best they can with the resources that the UCP and (Education Minister) Adriana LaGrange have decided to give them. More resources would mean smaller class sizes. It’s as simple as that.”

Hoffman called on the province to hire more teachers and educational assistants in order to help mediate the large class sizes.

LaGrange’s press secretary Colin Aitchison said in an emailed statement the safety and well being of staff and students has guided decision-making on the province’s school re-entry plan.

“We understand that Albertans want what is best for their children as they return to school this fall, and that is why we continue to follow the expert medical advice of our chief medical officer of health, who approved our school re-entry plan,” Aitchison said.

“The plan also has support from our school superintendents and school boards, and was developed in consultation with the education system.”

Aitchison added the province continues to work with chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and the education system and will adjust guidelines as necessary.

“Additionally, full funding was restored to school authorities on July 1 following the temporary funding adjustments to support Alberta’s COVID-19 response. If school authorities are not restoring services or hiring the staff they require, they are doing this despite receiving full funding and an increase for the upcoming school year.”

Meanwhile, Edmonton Catholic Schools has extended its deadline to Friday for parents to choose whether their child will start the school year with online or in-person classes. Edmonton Public Schools expects to share information regarding the number of students who will be learning online or in-person on Tuesday.

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