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Schools in Alberta will open their doors to students full-time this fall, the government is expected to announce on Tuesday.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will announce that students should plan for a return to classrooms under “near normal” conditions in September, with some health measures in place, a source told The Globe and Mail. The Globe has agreed not to name the source as they are not authorized to speak publicly.

The province has had a surge of COVID-19 infections lately with cases accelerating faster than anywhere else in Canada.

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Ms. LaGrange had previously proposed three reopening scenarios: a full-time return to school; a partial resumption of in-class instruction; and remote learning.

The government had previously said it wanted students to be in class full-time but would release its final decision by Aug. 1. The plan would require physical distancing when possible, grouping of students by class where possible and avoiding large assemblies.

There has been widespread debate on the proper way to reopen schools across the country, with many parents calling for full-time schooling. Early school-board plans paint a picture of an unusual start to the academic year for millions of children, with staggered entry times, grouping of students and many spending only part of the week at school, leaving families to grapple with remote learning and makeshift child care.

Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have announced plans for their youngest learners to return to school full time, with health and safety measures. Other provinces have asked school boards to spend the summer preparing for a range of scenarios, including a hybrid model where students spend part of their week in school.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

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