Learning in a Pandemic: How COVID-19 Changed Calgary Schools

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Even in a typical year, the first day of school is an anxious and anticipatory occasion for parents and children.

But that nervousness will be magnified as students return to class this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will be the first time any of us have returned to school in the event of a pandemic,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, said at her press conference Thursday.

“It’s natural to feel nervous, excited, anxious, or any other emotion that we may be feeling right now. ”

Students from the Calgary Board of Education will begin walking on school grounds on Tuesday, while those from the Calgary Catholic School District will begin their return trip the following day.

The CBE hopes to allay concerns before the first bell rings next week, especially for parents dropping off younger students.

“Parents, in general, when they drop their children off at school, stay with them and often parents enter the building with their children,” said Director of Education Darlene Unruh.

“This year, we are asking parents, when possible, to hug, kiss and say goodbye before their children come to the playground.”

Each school will have individual first day of school plans, which will be sent to parents, but most younger students will visit the school grounds, where teachers will wait with signs to identify themselves.

For older students, the CBE hosted a tour of Henry Wise Wood School on Friday morning, demonstrating new measures to encourage students to follow social distancing and other public health guidelines.

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