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B.C. delays start of school year. Could Alberta follow suit?

Last Updated Aug 12, 2020 at 12:04 pm MST

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange during a phone call with the Deputy Premier of Saskatchewan on Nov. 21, 2019. (CREDIT: @AdrianaLaGrange, Twitter)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – As parents and teachers frantically prepare to go back to school, some are wondering if the start of the year should be delayed.

On Tuesday, the B.C. government announced students will not be returning to the classroom on Sept. 8 as previously planned.

Instead, B.C.’s Education Minister Rob Fleming said students will return to school for an orientation day by Sept. 10.

Staff will begin the year on Sept. 8 to go over updated guidelines and finalize health and safety measures.

Fleming said it’s important “staff have a couple of days” before welcoming back kids to classes.

“Really, the idea is to get staff back together, whether it’s support staff, teachers, administrators, to finalize how the school operations are going to work.
Starting up school in a pandemic year requires some additional scheduling and logistical concerns in operations.

“The idea is to get staff back together to finalize how the school operations will work, a thorough review of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control guidelines and then to accept students back later in the first week of school.”

RELATED: B.C. students to return to school Sept. 10 as part of gradual restart

So, could delaying the school calendar be a possibility for Alberta students and staff?

In a statement to 660 NEWS, a spokesperson for the Education Minister said that’s on the agenda right now.

“We continue to follow the expert medical advice of our Chief Medical Officer of Health, who approved our school re-entry plan. The plan also has support from our school superintendents and school boards and was developed in consultation with the education system. At this point, the advice does not include delaying the start of the school year.

“We will continue to work with Dr. Hinshaw and our education system, and will make adjustments as necessary.”

As of Wednesday, B.C. is the only province or territory to delay the start of the year with most schools in Canada scheduled to begin after Labour Day.

Alberta’s re-entry plan, introduced last month, aims to have all students and staff return to classes in the fall with enhanced safety protocols.

WATCH: Parents, teachers share concerns about Alberta schools reopening

Options for remote and alternative learning programs are also being offered.

The province’s Opposition NDP has criticized that plan saying it does little to keep staff and students safe.

They’re calling for a cap on class sizes to ensure physical distancing is possible and more funding to hire additional staff.

-With files from NEWS 1130 and The Canadian Press