Any students scheduled to write diploma exams in October or November now have the option of not taking them.

Alberta’s Ministry of Education announced the decision last week, due to ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and changes to learning that have been made this year.

"As we continue to listen to students, parents and education partners, it’s clear that some students may not feel comfortable or be in the best position to write exams at this time," said Colin Aitchison, the press secretary for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. "We know these are challenging times, and that’s why we want to ensure students and their parents have the flexibility to make the best decision for their own situation this exam season.”

If a student does decide to write the diploma exam, the province said it will account for 30 per cent of their final mark.

For most students in Cochrane - who write their diploma exams in January and July, there hasn’t been a decision made yet on whether or not they will be optional. Students who graduated from grade 12 in June 2020, were not required to write their final exams.

"We will of course continue to monitor how the school year progresses, and make decisions on the remaining exams prior to them being written,” said Aitchison in a statement to media.

The province has given school districts the option to cancel provincial achievement tests for grades six and nine in their schools.

Rocky View Schools will not be proceeding with Provincial Achievement tests for grade six and nine students in the 2020/21 school year. Calgary's Catholic school district has also decided to cancel them meaning Catholic School students in Cochrane will not receive provincial achievement tests this school year.