Community Being Asked To Play Big Part In Helping Schools Remain Open

The community is being asked to play a big part in ensuring schools remain open for the remainder of the school year.

Students will officially return to in-school classes on Monday after the provincial government had those in grades 7 to 12 move to online learning at the end of November to help stop the surge of COVID-19 cases across Alberta.

All grades have spent the first week of 2021 learning online as schools prepared for everyone’s return.

“The best place for our students, we know and everybody knows, is in school with each other not only for academics but for the socializing and relationships that are so so important,” said George McGuigan, Superintendent of the Fort McMurray Catholic School District.

When older students restarted online learning there were under 200 active COVID-19 cases in Fort McMurray. As of Thursday, there were 266 active cases in the community.

The FMCSD and the Fort McMurray Public School Division saw 84 individuals with ties to their schools test positive for the virus. All but one was believed to be transmitted through the community.

“We’re confident that those practices, the sacrifices that our staff and families made to ensure those environments were safe… we’ll continue to have success,” added Jennifer Turner, FMPSD Superintendent.

If the active total continues to rise in Fort McMurray there’s a possibility students won’t be able to finish the year at school.

“It makes sense that we’re going to have more cases in the schools and it’s gonna put us in a precarious position where down the road we may have to go to the provincial government and say we can’t staff our schools,” added McGuigan.

“I’m really hoping and praying that everybody will continue to do what they need to do.”

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