A child writes in their school notebook during a home schooling session in Cremona, Alta., Monday, March 23, 2020, amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students in Calgary will shift to online learning as of today in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Online classes begin for some Alberta students amid rising COVID-19 cases

Alberta currently has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country

Thousands of students in Calgary and in northern Alberta are shifting to online learning today because of rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said last week that Calgary students in grades 7 through 12 would make the move to remote classes.

School divisions in Fort McMurray also announced Friday that students in those same grades would be learning from home.

LaGrange said soaring infection rates have put schools under “operational pressures,” sometimes resulting in severe staff shortages.

Alberta currently has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country, with more than 400 infections per 100,000 people.

Last night, Premier Jason Kenney announced the province is lowering the minimum age to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to 40 from 55.

Kenney said on Twitter that bookings for the younger ages will start Tuesday.

“This decision is based on growing scientific knowledge about the vaccine,” he said.

There has been vaccine hesitancy around AstraZeneca because of a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder, which has so far affected two Canadians — one in Quebec and one in Alberta.

On Saturday, the province announced an Alberta man in his 60s was diagnosed with a blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the man received treatment and is recovering.

The Canadian Press

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