Health & Wellness in School

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

COVID-19 Parent Frequently Asked Questions

Health Measures

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
  • 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?

The CBE will align with current advice provided by Alberta Education and Alberta Health. 

​Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas such as hallways and on buses. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs. 

Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. 

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 Grade K-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.


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.

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?

AHS will notify parents if their child may have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 at school, and public health officials will contact those who were in close contact with the person.


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.

Can my child learn online instead?

While face-to-face in school learning is preferred for most students, our parent survey indicated that some parents are not comfortable with in-person learning. For those families, a hub online learning approach​ will be available. This approach requires significant parent involvement and commitment. More information about this learning approachand registration will be available throughout the month of August.

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.


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. ​

Still have a ques​​ti​​on? 

Send us you​r question to as we are continuing to update our FAQs.​

Frequently Asked Questions
For Staff

Last modified: 8/11/2020 3:47 PM
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