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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education after being is sworn into office, in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. The Alberta Teachers' Association is calling on the Kenney government to delay the start of the school year until after Sept. 7, Labour Day.

The Canadian Press

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is calling on the Kenney government to delay the start of the school year until after Sept. 7, Labour Day.

Association president Jason Schilling made the announcement Wednesday after meeting with Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to discuss concerns about the province’s back-to-school plan.

The government has said students are to return to class as early as Sept. 1.

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Schilling says teachers, principals and other staff need more time to prepare for students.

He says there needs to be increased physical distancing through reduced class sizes, funding for better protective equipment and better plans for screening and testing students and staff for COVID-19.

In a statement, LaGrange said the province’s plan has been approved by Alberta health officials including Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“The minister listened to our concerns, and I feel that she has a better understanding of them now than before,” Schilling said in a release.

“Nothing was formally agreed to, but I expect to hear more from the minister on these important issues. The government now has to act.”

Schilling said the association’s main priority is ensuring that school reopening is done as safely as possible.

The association says it represents 46,000 members across the province.

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