Health & Wellness in School

Health & Wellness in School COVID-19 Parent Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Parent Frequently Asked Questions

Note | This webpage contains information and health measures that were in effect during the 2020-21 school year. We are currently reviewing this information and the most recent guidance from Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services. Updated health measures for the 2021-22 school year will be available in August.

In-Person Learning

My child is going to school in person. Can they switch to hub online learning?

Students beginning the year in hub online learning​ may move back to face-to-face learning Feb. 1. Students beginning the year at school in person will not permitted to move to the hub. 

What will reporting and assessment look like for students in 2020-21?

The three approaches the CBE is providing for student learning in this school year are:

  • face-to-face school instruction
  • hub online learning
  • CBe-learn

As the Programs of Study for each mandatory course at each grade will be taught, assessment and reporting of outcomes-based learning will continue to follow the guidelines identified in the CBE online resources on Assessment and Reporting in the CBE.

Some families may choose home education. There are different providers within the province who work with parents to deliver the learning. (The Home Education Provincial Regulation identifies that the responsibility for the planning and delivery of instruction rests with parents.)

Can I keep my kindergarten age child home this year and send him next year?

Your child may attend kindergarten in the CBE next year if your child is still five years old on September 1, 2021. There would be specific guidance for children who accessed other ECS opportunities for 2020-21 and were government funded as they may not be eligible.

What is kindergarten going to look like in the fall with all of these guidelines in place?

Kindergarten classes will be following the same protocols of each school in the CBE. The guidelines comply with the CBE’s response to Alberta Education K to 12 school re-entry information: Guidance for schools re-entry scenario 1. For example, morning and afternoon kindergarten classes will make up separate cohorts. Smaller learning materials will be kept separate between the two groups. The morning class will have their own tubs of materials, as will the afternoon class. Larger items, e.g. house centre, will be cleaned between the am and pm classes. Each school principal has posted school-specific plans on their website.


Can I keep my kindergarten child home in September and if I am feeling more comfortable with face to face instruction send her to school in February?

It is important to note that a full year of attendance in kindergarten is important to the success of children in kindergarten and following years. A child may register to begin kindergarten throughout the year; however, schools allocate teaching staff based on enrolment at the beginning of the year. If a child is not registered until later in the year, this could impact the school’s ability to provide supports.

Will there be school assemblies?

School assemblies or other large gatherings (e.g. celebrations, concerts or dances) must be avoided and virtual options should continue to be offered instead of in person gatherings. These cannot occur at any time before, during, or after the school day.

If a school is closed, will they still have access to instruction?

If a school is closed, at-home learning would continue through an online format.


If I choose to keep my child home for kindergarten, may I defer my placement to Grade 1 for the 2021-22 school year.

Parents may defer the placement of their child to September 2021 when the child has been placed in kindergarten as the result of a lottery. Parents should indicate to the school's principal their intention to continue into Grade 1 at the school by Sept. 30, 2020. Principals will contact parent regarding the 2021-22 school year in Jan/Feb.

Health Measures

My child(ren) have asthma, allergies and/or seasonal allergies that can cause similar symptoms to COVID-19. Do they have to complete a COVID-19 test prior to school commencing?

Yes. According to Alberta Health Services Guidelines, a student showing COVID-19 symptoms who has allergies or other pre-existing medical conditions that cause similar symptoms must get at least one negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school.

These symptoms would be their baseline health status. The student can attend school as long as they stay the same. Talk to your school about your child’s pre-existing medical conditions so the school may keep a confidential record of these conditions, as they would with other medical conditions.

Will you be reinforcing hand washing in schools and workplaces?

Alberta Health has provided the following Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette, which we are reinforcing with our staff and students:

Hand hygiene with plain soap and warm water is preferred in schools. The mechanical action of hand washing is effective at removing visible soil as well as microbes. In instances where hand washing sinks are not available, supervised use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol may be considered. If hands are visibly soiled, alcohol based hand sanitizers may not be effective at eliminating respiratory viruses.

Students/children and adults in the child care setting should clean their hands:

  • before leaving home and on arrival at school
  • before entering the classroom​
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • after contact with saliva or nasal secretions after diapering a child
  • before using shared materials such as arts and craft supplies
  • before leaving school and on arrival at home

We are also reinforcing respiratory etiquette, which includes covering the mouth and nose during coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues in a plastic-lined waste container, followed by hand hygiene.

Will my child have to wear a mask at school?

For the 2020-21 school year, the CBE will require all staff and students (kindergarten to Grade 12) to wear a mask at school. This includes classrooms and public spaces such as hallways, learning commons, bathrooms, etc. Masks are also required for staff and students travelling on Calgary Transit or a yellow school bus.

We are working on mask guidelines including support for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions or other needs. When staff and students take breaks for wearing a mask, it will be important for other measures to be adhered to like physical distancing, hand hygiene, and sanitizing surfaces.​​​

Guidance on mask use is available here.

Students who take Calgary Transit to school must wear masks while on buses or C-trains. The City of Calgary announced July 21 that masks will be mandatory on public transit effective Aug. 1, 2020.

How do you prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at school?

There is no way to totally prevent transmission, but many health measures will be in place in schools to minimize the possibility of transmission within schools. These measures include:

  • Daily health monitoring – if students or staff feel ill, they must stay home. Anyone who reports symptoms should seek health care advice as appropriate and fill out the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if they should be tested
  • Keeping groups of students and staff together and assigning seating in classrooms and on buses to decrease the number of close contacts (referred to as cohorting)
  • Directional signage in high-traffic areas
  • Emphasis upon hand hygiene, including frequent hand washing
  • Respiratory etiquette such as covering coughs and sneezes
  • More frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces like desks, chairs, door handles and stair railings
  • Encouraging students to bring refillable water bottles, rather than drinking directly from water fountains
  • Staggering lunch and recess times to reduce congestion at peak times
  • Physically distancing wherever possible

How can students physically distance while at school or on the school bus?

It will not be possible to physically distance at all times while in school or on the bus. However, measures will be in place to reduce direct contact with others. While in classrooms or on buses, students will have assigned seating. Lunch and recess times will be staggered to mitigate congestion. Signs will be in place to remind students and staff to physically distance wherever possible. As outlined in the Alberta Guidance for School Re-Entry​ in situations where physical distancing is not possible, extra emphasis on hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, not participating when sick and cleaning and disinfecting on a regular basis.

Will schools be closed if there is a positive COVID-19 test at a school?

A COVID-19 case will not automatically lead to school closure. The decision to send a cohort/class home or the recommendation to close a school will be made with the local Medical Officer of Health. Students and staff will be supported to learn or work from home if they are required to remain at home due to a school, cohort or class closure.


Will my child have to share school supplies?

No. Each student in kindergarten through Grade 9 will be provided with their own school supplies. Parents should supply personal items such as water bottles. For activities, like physical education class, where materials are used with different classes we are developing cleaning protocols.


Will there be school nurses in each school?

The CBE does not have a school nurse job description. Schools have identified employees with first aid training to support OHS requirements in the workplace.

Are you increasing ventilation in CBE schools?

Yes. All schools must already adhere to industry ventilation standards, but in addition, all schools will now have their HVAC systems operating for longer during the day (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.). This will ensure that there is good ventilation during the day, and that all air is flushed after staff and students have left the building for the day.​​



What is the illness policy for staff and students?

Students and staff must assess their health daily. If they feel ill, they must stay home, and take the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if they should be tested. Please see the "If a student has COVID-19 Symptoms​" guidance from AHS.

If my child has COVID-19 symptoms, do their siblings need to stay home too?

Parents, household members, and contacts of a student who has symptoms but is not a COVID-19 case, are not required to quarantine. 

Only the people identified as close contacts of an individual who is a case of COVID-19 need to quarantine. The contacts of the close contacts do not need to quarantine.​ Please see the "If a student has COVID-19 Symptoms​" guidance from AHS for more information.​


​If my child has to self-isolate, how will the opportunity for learning continue?

In the case of self-isolation:

If a child is self-isolating and is well-enough to engage in school work, the classroom teacher will continue to provide work and support.

If a child is not well enough to continue learning at home with teacher support, accommodations for the child’s learning will take place upon the child’s return to classes. The teacher will assess the expectations for learning for the child and provide the appropriate accommodations.

What happens if my child’s teacher gets sick?

Any staff member who feels ill must take the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if they should be tested. If a teacher must stay home, a substitute teacher will be assigned for the class.

What if my child has COVID-19 like symptoms at school? 

If your child begins to feel sick at school, they will be taken to a supervised infirmary room or designated space and given a disposable mask to wear. Parents/guardians will be contacted and must pick their child up within the hour.


Will I know if there is a positive test at my school?

If we are informed by a family or staff member that an individual has tested positive in your child’s class, you will receive an email from the school requiring your child to isolate until we receive further information from AHS. AHS will still investigate all positive cases in schools, and your child cannot return to school until AHS says it is safe to do so.

Should we find the positive individual did not attend school while contagious, we will contact you again via email and inform you that your child can return to school. ​


Will CBE students write Provincial Achievement Tests this year?

Due to the continued disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBE will not be administering Grade 6 and 9 Provincial Achievement Tests in the 2020-21 school year. We believe this is the right decision in a year where direction from Alberta Education and Alberta Health continues to evolve rapidly. 

Teachers will remain focused on delivering the programs of study for all courses, and will continue to assess student achievement based on the grade level outcomes as determined by the Province of Alberta.

Are Grade 12 diploma exams cancelled?

Alberta Education informed school boards on Oct. 13 that November 2020 diploma exams are optional for some students, and the decision to write will be made by students and their parents. 

On Nov. 24, 2020, Alberta Education announced Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and their families can choose whether to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams.

Learn more about writing diploma exams this year.​​

​How will teachers support students due to the disruption in learning that occurred last spring when learning at home?

Teachers will construct lessons and assessment opportunities based on students’ current level of achievement. Teachers know that some students may need more support and will design learning tasks accordingly.

Will you be hiring more teachers and education assistants?

The CBE will continue to follow the Resource Allocation Model (RAM), assigned to schools in the spring. The RAM is the budgeting tool used by Principals to determine how to deploy their staff for the upcoming school year. Updates to the RAM do not occur until October when student numbers can be confirmed. We are adding more staff to our casual rosters including substitute teachers and Education Assistants. With the exception of Cleaners, we are not hiring any additional continuous staff at this time.

Activities and School Buildings

Are school sports proceeding in the fall?

As of September 28, 2020, high schools will have the opportunity to develop practice cohorts for fall sports. This could include tryouts, practices and training. No inter-school competitions are to take place at this time.​​

Can students enrolled in hub online learning still participate in school clubs and athletics at their home school?

New Oct. 27

No, participation in these activities is only offered to students learning in-person at 
their school. ​


Can school spaces be rented by the public?

Public rentals cancellation of CBE and CSSD school facilities has been extended until December 31, 2020.

The City, CBE and CCSD recognize the tremendous value that students and the surrounding communities derive from after-hours community access to schools. As a result, this decision will be reviewed later this fall. The cancellation of public rentals for the fall of 2020 will allow the school jurisdictions to focus upon the health and safety of students and staff as in class learning resumes effective September 1, 2020. This experience will subsequently allow us to ensure that when public rentals resume, it can do so in a fashion that can better ensure everyone’s health and safety.​

At this time, the cancellation of public rentals until January 2021 does not include SAHLA language schools or Access 3-6 (after school) programs, as these will continue and follow the Provincial sector guidelines and CBE guidelines and expectations. ​

Are before and after care programs opening?

Before and after school care programs that lease space in CBE schools were​ given permission to open. They must follow the guidelines set out by the government for their business sector. Please contact the program in your school directly for information on their plans for the 2020-21 school year.

Are School Councils able to continue during the school year?

School council and parent fundraising society meetings and activities will be impacted during the 2020-21 school year because of COVID-19 protocols in place in our schools. A set of guidelines have been developed.​


Will yellow school buses run in Scenario 1 and 2?


How will students physically distance on a bus?

Reasonable actions will be taken to limit the number of students on a bus. Because physical distancing cannot be maintained on a bus, the focus will be on cleaning and health measures. In Scenario 1, buses will be capped at 48 riders and there will be a seating plan. In Scenario 2, a reduced number of riders will be on the bus on alternating days. Seating plans will continue to have siblings sit together. Cohorting of siblings on buses will only occur where siblings are on the same route.


What should parents and students do before leaving home for the bus stop?

Parents should complete a health assessment for students. All students who experience symptoms must stay home. Parents and students must not be in the pick up area or enter the bus if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

If my child gets sick while at school, can they take the bus home?

No. Parents or guardians must pick up their child if they get sick while at school. Parents must designate an emergency contact in case they are unable to pick up their child within the hour. Please ensure your school has the emergency contact information.

What happens if a child displays COVID-19 symptoms while at the bus stop and no parent / caregiver is present?

The student will be assigned a seat at the front of the bus, with no other students, and offered a mask. Parents/guardians must pick their child up at school as soon as possible. ​​​​​​​​​

Last modified: 6/25/2021 2:45 PM
Website feedback: Webmaster