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Coronavirus: Discussions ongoing to figure out how to continue K-12 education for Lethbridge students

Click to play video: 'Southern Alberta school districts provide update on K-12 education plan amid COVID-19 pandemic' Southern Alberta school districts provide update on K-12 education plan amid COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: Dozens of schools in and around Lethbridge are figuring out how to transition their lesson plans to avoid in-person schooling as the province grapples with a rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Eloise Therien has the story. – Mar 17, 2020

Classrooms across Alberta are quiet this week after the provincial government suspended all K-12 schools indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussions are now ongoing as to what the move will mean for teachers and students in the coming months.

Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, says there will be no loss of income for full-time teachers, but there is a concern when it comes to aiding substitutes.

READ MORE: City of Lethbridge prepares for COVID-19

“We are in conversations with the government on how to address the loss of income, potentially, for substitute teachers,” he said.

“And that is a worry of ours and our colleagues right now.”

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Schilling added that he wants teachers to know they have support in dealing with the change of format.

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“We’ve been encouraging teachers to make sure that they connect with their colleagues and their friends and family and that they take care of themselves.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Lethbridge families prepare to bridge education gap as Alberta cancels classes

Cheryl Gilmore, the superintendent of the Lethbridge School Division, said learning is unique for each age group and she is hopeful a new system of learning will roll out in the coming days.

“Teachers are currently in schools, working on what that will look like,” she said. “It’ll look different for elementary — Grade 1 and 2 for example — than it will for Grade 12.”

The Lethbridge School Division and the Holy Catholic Spirit School Division run dozens of schools in and around the city, with thousands of students. For students needing to clean out their lockers, schedules are being sent out through individual schools.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 16 Southern Alberta emergency physicians sound alarm on potential system overload

Both districts say if government orders remain as they are, graduation ceremonies are unlikely.

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“Of course we have Catholic Central’s graduation that happens early in May, and then others that don’t happen until late in June,” said Ken Sampson, the superintendent of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. “So we’ll be looking at making that call a little bit later on once we have more information.”

Students across the province have been assured by the provincial government that they will remain on track to complete their current grade level.

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