Teacher conventions will be online in 2021. Convention boards around the province are working extremely hard to plan the outstanding professional development experiences you have come to expect, and while your convention experience will no doubt be different this school year, the principles underlying teachers’ conventions remain the same.
- Safety – As we deal with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, your health and safety continue to be of paramount importance to your Association. As you make decisions about your convention participation, we urge you to heed the advice and practices of health officials to protect yourselves. We look forward to returning to in-person teachers’ conventions in years to come when it is safe to do so, however take care not put your health at risk as you participate this year.
- Participation – Your two days of self-directed professional development at teachers’ convention remain the same, and your professional and contractual obligations to attend for these two days continue unaffected. Convention boards are planning outstanding programs with top-notch keynote presenters and relevant concurrent breakout sessions. Most sessions will either be offered live using Zoom conferencing software or as pre-recorded on-demand sessions. You will have opportunities leading up to your convention to ensure that you can connect to these sessions. As always, if you wish permission to attend an alternate professional development experience taking place at the same time as your convention, or if you wish permission to attend an alternate convention, please apply at ata.smapply.ca.
- Learning – Your convention boards are excited to offer you numerous online keynote and concurrent breakout sessions that align with the Teaching Quality Standard. This programming along with networking opportunities and online exhibitors are intended to help you meet the goals of your professional growth plans and develop required competencies. The Association advises members to participate from home to retain professional autonomy in making professional development choices for your convention experience. With many live sessions being recorded for viewing throughout the convention and large capacity Zoom sessions, you will have greater flexibility to access the sessions you need when you need them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Last updated: 2021 01 27
With Teachers’ Conventions being virtual for 2021, am I required to go into school on those days?
No. The two days for teachers’ convention are listed in the Education Act under s205(1) as “2 days on which a teachers’ convention authorized by the Alberta Teachers’ Association is held”. These are days that are under the control of the Association. Teachers are encouraged to attend convention from home or from a location where stable internet connections exist. Teachers are also encouraged to download any convention material in advance to minimize bandwidth requirements during convention. While some employers may allow you to use the school for convention, that is up to you to decide. (2020 12 09)
If a teacher travels outside the country, would the mandatory 14-day isolation requirement for International travelers be considered unpaid leave when they return?
Yes, the leave would be unpaid leave.
Some teachers have additional days off during their convention week and are considering leaving the province and attending convention virtually from their location.
If teachers leave the country, they need to isolate for 14 days upon their return.
The days missed would be unpaid leave.
The current International travel restrictions indicates that there is an “official global travel advisory in effect”. Albertans should follow all travel advisories. This advisory means:
- Avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada and all cruise ship travel.
Returning travelers must:
- within 72 hours of their return to Canada, secure a negative PCR Covid test;
- follow mandatory 14-day isolation requirements for international travelers;
- check recent domestic and international flights for confirmed cases; and
- monitor for symptoms.
Responsible travel within Alberta is permitted, including to second homes, vacation homes, hotel/commercial accommodations, campgrounds, and national and provincial parks.
Non-essential travel outside the province is not recommended. This recommendation will not be lifted until Stage 3 of Alberta's relaunch strategy.
While there is an International Border Testing Pilot Program currently in effect for those international travellers arriving directly into Calgary, teachers are still restricted from returning to work for, at minimum, an additional 7 to 9 days. Teachers need a follow up COVID test on day 6 or 7 following their return to Canada and must await these results prior to returning to work. (International Border Testing Pilot Program | Alberta.ca) (2021 01 13)
For the latest updates on your convention, please visit its website. For specific questions pertaining to collective agreement clauses related to teachers’ conventions or convention attendance recommendations, please contact a duty officer in Teacher Employment Services by calling Barnett House toll free at 1-800-232-7208. For general questions related to online teachers’ conventions in 2021, please contact Danny Maas at Daniel.Maas@ata.ab.ca.