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Xu cited the province’s choice to cancel diplomas in the spring, when fewer daily COVID-19 cases were being reported, as well as the 2013 southern Alberta floods as precedents for having opt-out exams.
She also expressed concerns about the location of the diploma exams, some of which will be held at St. Francis High School — the school where acluster of three COVID-19 cases in an in-person summer school class has forced a 14-day quarantine for all students in the class, as well as a teacher.
“Taking into consideration that just has many if not more students will be taking their diplomas there in August, the statistics show that we’re at a greater risk,” Xu said.
When asked Saturday for a response to the petition, Alberta Education said there were no plans on making the upcoming diploma exams voluntary.
“Students who enrolled in summer school diploma-level courses would be writing diploma exams in August,” said Colin Aitchison, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.
“By voluntarily choosing to participate in summer school, they would have known that they would be writing diploma exams this summer.”
Still, Xu believes the province can make the call to accommodate students.
“The Government of Alberta can’t claim to have the best interests of students at heart when they’re subjecting us to unnecessary mental hardships,” she said.
“While we may not have the right to vote, we do have the right to call on the government to change policies.”