September 10, 2021
Since the start of the new school year, we have been made aware of positive COVID-19 cases among both students and staff. At the direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services (AHS) will no longer inform school divisions of positive cases, notify close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, or provide us with any guidance and direction as it relates to positive cases in schools. While we appreciate that people want to cooperate and make others aware, without official confirmation and direction from AHS, we can no longer effectively carry out contact tracing in our schools.
It is important to know that since positive COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward in our community, we can expect that positive cases will continue to be present in our schools. We ask that parents continue to screen their children for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist, encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene, and adhere to the Division’s masking policy. Most importantly, stay home when sick.
Schools are required to monitor attendance rates and notify Alberta Health Services when absences reach 10%. AHS will then contact our schools and conduct an investigation. If the symptoms among all the absent students in a school are similar, AHS may declare an outbreak and implement additional health restrictions in that school. While parents and guardians are not required to give a reason for a child’s absence, if parents wish to inform us that their child has COVID-19, or COVID-like symptoms, the information might be helpful in the event of an AHS investigation.
It is unfortunate that school boards have been placed in a position to make many pandemic response decisions independently. Please know that we take the safety and well-being of our students and staff very seriously. We thank everyone for their cooperation.