Step 2: Update to Public Health Measures
AHEA continues to work with the Alberta Department of Education, voicing concerns and sharing examples of issues faced in the home education community. They are the ones interacting directly with Alberta Health Services on behalf of students across the province. Please note the wording is 'home education co-ops' and/or 'supportive group learning environments.' You may wish to review prior articles on this blog for helpful clarification and action items. AHEA's work continues unabated and your joint efforts and action assist us greatly.
Here is the latest update from the Deputy Minister of Education for your review...
"Step 2 of Alberta's four-step framework to carefully ease COVID-19 restrictions took effect on March 1. The changes to public health measures included the authorization of low-intensity indoor fitness activities and the reopening of libraries with restrictions.
On March 8, 2021, CMOH Order 05-2021 was signed to amend CMOH Order 04-2021. Both orders provide further clarity for local facilities to support student learning, and eases a number of restrictions for activities permitted under Steps 1 and 2 on The Path Forward for Albertans. For education, the new Order does not change the ability for school authorities and home education co-ops/supportive group learning environments outside of homes to access off-site facilities (public or otherwise) for physical education or performance/performance arts programs.
In addition, section 82.7 of CMOH Order 05-2021 provides home education co-ops/supportive group learning environments with the ability to meet in approved off-site facilities for an activity that is not curriculum based, but related to youth development.
As a reminder, in addition to monitoring hospitalizations, Alberta's government will also be monitoring other metrics, including case numbers, growth rate and the impacts of COVID-19 variants, to guide any decisions regarding the need to pause further steps or potentially increase restrictions.
Joint home education co-op activities/supportive group learning environments outside of their homes must continue to adhere to the following health measures that also apply to schools.
- Parents and students engaging in joint learning activities with other home education families outside of their homes must use the appropriate Alberta Health Daily Checklist and adhere to recommendations of the Zone Medical Officer of Health or designate, including having a responsible adult within each cohort to identify close contacts should there be a case of COVID-19 identified within the cohort.
- Parents and students choosing to engage in joint learning activities with other home education families outside of their homes, (e.g., community hall or rental facility) will be considered a cohort and must follow the cohorting guidance in the COVID-19 information: Guidance for schools on re-entry scenario 1.
- Parents and students 10 years of age and older (Grades 4 and older) who choose to engage in joint learning activities with other home education families outside of their home must wear a non-medical face mask in accordance with the masking requirements in school (CMOH Order 33-2020).
- Parents are required to develop procedures outlining hand hygiene requirements and follow enhanced cleaning, disinfecting guidance in the COVID-19 information: Guidance for schools on re-entry scenario 1.
- Parents and students must follow the physical distancing guidelines in the COVID-19 information: Guidance for schools on re-entry scenario 1.
Please note that cohorts should be maintained for learning based on outdoor play, recess and outdoor learning activities. Indoor and outdoor learning activities must take place in facilities only and not in homes as the indoor and outdoor social gatherings and performance activities restrictions remain in place.
The safety of students remains our top priority throughout the school year."
REMINDER: Your continued and vocal efforts to draw attention to any concerns and hardships your families are experiencing are critical. They encourage those we are speaking with to continue evaluating and revising the current policies. Your ability to care for and educate your children is your responsibility as home education parents. AHEA encourages you to do all you can to make decisions for your family to function in the way that you deem best.
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AHEA works hard year-round to advocate for home education in Alberta. We are grateful to be able to speak to issues like this in a constructive way to government on your behalf. Your support of our organization allows us to focus on the issues that we face today and anticipate facing tomorrow.
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