Division News Article

News Update – Public Health Emergency

November 25th, 2020

On November 24th, the Government of Alberta declared a Public Health Emergency and a series of enhanced restrictions. These include some temporary changes for schools.

Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Starting Nov. 30

Grades 7-12 students

  • Move to at-home learning Nov. 30 to Jan. 8, except during winter break
  • Resume in-person classes Jan. 11
  • Diploma exams are optional for the rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams.

Grades K-6 students (including Early Childhood Services)

  • Continue in-person learning until their scheduled winter break
  • Move to at-home learning after the winter break until Jan. 8
  • Resume in-person classes Jan. 11

Christmas Break in PHSD

The Pembina Hills Christmas Break is scheduled to begin on December 19 and runs until January 3.
The last day of instruction will continue to be December 18, 2020. Instruction will resume on January 4, 2021.
The Pembina Hills Christmas break lines up with the new restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the Questions and Answers below. If you have specific questions, please contact the principal of your child’s school.

Why do the Grade 7-12 students need to learn from home, and not Kindergarten through Grade 6?

  • This restriction is intended to have an impact on the rapid rise in transmission rates.   
  • The government’s decision is based on the evidence and data about which groups impact the number of positive COVID-19 cases. 
    • The medical advice that informed the decision considered the mental, physical, and academic well-being of the students and families. 
    • The experience of at-home learning last spring showed that keeping K-6 students at home resulted in a variety of consequences to learning and family life.   These effects had less impact with older students.  
    • They noted that the frequency of cases in schools is significantly higher for grade 7-12 students. 

Can parents of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students opt for at-home learning too?

  • Kindergarten to Grade six students who are currently enrolled in schools are to continue to attend in-person learning.  
  • If you have specific hardships that impact continued attendance, please contact your school principal for guidance.

Are schools closed?

  • No.  Schools will remain open.  
    • Students can come individually to pick up supplies. Please call ahead.
    • Parent teacher interviews may occur
    • Scheduled tutoring sessions for individuals are ok
    • Help for students with special needs at school is ok
    • Space for individuals who have no connection capacity from home is also ok
    • There will be no in-person group instruction for grades 7-12

How much work will Grade 7-12 students be expected to do?

  • This restriction is not a full Scenario 3 situation 
  • Students will be expected to maintain as much of their course load as possible
  • Students will continue to receive instruction in all core subjects (ELA, Math, Sciences, Social Studies) as per their current timetables  
  • Special programs such as options and CTS may be modified for distance delivery and may involve some project work

Will there still be Diploma Exams in January?

  • The official statement from the Ministry of Education is this:

Diploma exams are optional for the 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.

Will schools provide laptops or Chromebooks like they did last spring?

  • Yes, most schools will be able to provide students with technology tools if needed.
  • Parents will have to sign agreements to ensure that any damage to devices is paid for.

Other Questions

  • Families may have questions specific to their situation. 
  • Please contact your child’s teacher with questions about learning.
  • Please contact your school principal with questions about supports and logistics.