Most schools to resume on Tuesday

Most schools in Fort McMurray will resume normal classes on Tuesday.

In a joint statement Thursday, both Fort McMurray Public and Fort McMurray Catholic School Divisions say the divisions are returning to business as usual on May 21st. The only exceptions are. Father Beauregard, École Boréale, Good Shepherd, and Beacon Hill Public Schools, which will remain closed until further notice.

Fort McMurray Public School Division Superintendent Annalee Nutter joins Fort McMurray Matters on Friday. She said they are listening to officials, adding they will not open schools in a neighbourhood that is still under an evacuation order. 

“Could that change over the weekend? Yes, but I don’t think it will,” Nutter said. “We will have the staff who are not evacuated as well from that school; any staff that can report on Tuesday morning will report for duty at any of the other schools because we will be down some staff at other schools.”

Nutter adds 82 staff members – ranging from teachers, educational assistants, casual staff, and division office staff – had to evacuate, and may not be back in time for school to start up again on Tuesday.

Nutter said online learning alternatives will not be offered for these students, for good reason.

“We figure if they are still under evacuation and they’re not in the city, they are probably dealing with other anxiety and such that they don’t need to be online at school,” Nutter said. “We have a lot of staff that’s out, and that would be some of their teachers as well, so we think it’s just best for everyone’s mental health if we just keep those schools closed for now.”

Nutter said it’s important that those kids who can return to school on Tuesday make it to class. 

“The longer you keep the children out, the further behind they’re going to get, and we are already filling that learning gap from COVID and the last fire,” Nutter said. We don’t want to put them at any more of a disadvantage as we can; we want to see those kids in the city as soon as they can get back.”

Both FMPSD and FMCSD say they will continue monitoring the situation and will inform parents of any developments as they arise.

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