COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on Alberta schools’ ability to maintain in-person learning.

Red Deer Public Schools announced Sunday that Central Middle School will move students in grades 7 and 8 to online learning until May 4 at the earliest. The change takes effect immediately and may be extended based on case numbers.

“This decision is in response to cases over the weekend requiring the isolation of 178 students in Grades 7 and 8, as well as 12 staff,” said Darrin DeMale, Principal. “Cases of Grade 6 students have been minimal, thus the differences in how we will move forward. We made the decision given ongoing pressures and strains being put on students, learning resources and staff.”

The division says by making this move, all students will have equal access to learning.

“With two months of school remaining, we still have significant teaching and learning to take place to ensure students meet all outcomes. Red Deer Public Schools remains ready to pivot should any changes arise,” said Chad Erickson, Superintendent of Schools. “Given the increase in cases across our community, we urge all our students and families to be even more vigilant in following health restrictions for COVID-19. It is through our combined efforts that we will be able to get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible.”

Earlier this week, Red Deer Public announced Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School was moving online, with nine confirmed cases within a week and nearly 500 students and staff isolating. Thurber is on Outbreak (Tier 2) status with more than 10 active cases.

Clearview Public Schools announced Sunday it is moving all grades online until May 7 due to 31 per cent of students and 60 per cent of staff needing to isolate. They also announced a new case at the same time. Students in grades 6-12 there had already gone online several days ago. The decision could be extended past May 7 if deemed necessary.

According to, several other schools in the Central Zone have fully or partially moved learning online. As of Sunday, they include (*alert = 1-4 cases, outbreak = 5-9 cases, outbreak tier 2 = 10+ cases):

Olds – Ecole Olds High School (Chinook’s Edge School Division) – all grade 11s and 12s learning online until April 30 – Outbreak status

Drayton Valley – H.W. Pickup School (Wild Rose School Division) – all grade 7s and 8s learning online until May 7 – Alert status

Sylvan Lake – Ecole H.J. Cody High (Chinook’s Edge School Division) – all classes online until April 30

Blackfalds – St. Gregory the Great Catholic School (Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools) – all grade 6-9 students learning online until April 30 – Outbreak status

Drayton Valley – Frank Maddock School (Wild Rose School Division) – all students learning online until May 5 – Outbreak Tier 2 status

Red Deer – Notre Dame High (Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools) – all students learning online until May 3 – Outbreak Tier 2 status




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