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Some schools in Alberta and B.C. see slightly higher-than-usual absent rates

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Schools reopened in districts across British Columbia and Alberta with slightly higher absence rates among students and teachers as infections from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 climb.

Stephanie Higginson, president of the BC School Trustees Association, says there have been reports of higher-than-average absentee rates from some Interior schools, while most other areas have average attendance levels.

Ritinder Matthew, spokeswoman for the Surrey School District, says while absentee rates varied across the area, the average was about four per cent higher than in December.


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Both Higginson and Matthew say the districts will have a better sense of the impact the Omicron variant is having on levels of illness by mid-week.

The Calgary Board of Education and Edmonton Public Schools say their biggest challenge remains finding consistent staffing as some schools resumed without teachers in classrooms.

The Calgary board says there were 681 vacant teaching spots with 208 of those left unfilled in the morning, and five classes had to be shifted to online learning later in the day.