March 15, 2020
Effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited.
Classes are cancelled, but schools are not being closed at this point. Unless teachers are following advice to self-isolate or have another collective agreement related absence, they will likely be expected to report to work. Please look out for and follow board directives.
This decision raises many questions and the Association is communicating with government officials to identify teacher concerns and to discuss solutions. This situation is unprecedented and continues to evolve continuously.
Most recently, ATA President Jason Schilling raised the issues of substitute teacher income and childcare for teachers' own children with Minister LaGrange. The ATA will continue to work with the minister, Alberta Education, school jurisdictions and sector stakeholders during the upcoming days and weeks.
Government has pledged that 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.
Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met. Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction.
More information will be forthcoming as soon as it is available including the issues of substitute teacher income and childcare for teachers' own children. The Association is asking teachers to be patient and do as best they can in these unprecedented circumstances.
The COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on Albertans' mental health. Resources are available if you, or someone you know, is struggling or needs a little extra support. The Mental Health Help Line is available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you: 1-877-303-2642.
The Alberta Teachers' Association has setup a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page on our website at: https://www.teachers.ab.ca/News%20Room/Issues/Pages/COVID-19-FAQs.aspx
Further information on Alberta's response to this global pandemic is available at www.alberta.ca/covid19