COVID-19 outbreaks have been confirmed at multiple Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS).
Notices of “respiratory illness outbreak in a school setting,” at six WCPS schools were made available on the WCPS website. Currently there are COVID-19 outbreaks at Bentley School, Bluffton School, Clive School, Eckville Elementary School, Ponoka Elementary School and Rimbey Elementary School.
WCPS released the information on the outbreaks to parents, guardians and the public on their website, as the provincial government is still not releasing figures on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
The Government of Alberta released their COVID-19 return-to-school plan in August which stated that there would no longer be contact tracing in schools and Alberta Health Services (AHS) and schools are no longer required to notify each other of known COVID-19 cases.
“I know that there is keen interest in school outbreaks, and we’re working with the ministry of education to finalize a reporting framework,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday September 23.
Schools were only instructed to call AHS when more than 10 per cent of the school’s population was absent with a respiratory illness.
“To prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, we must restore contact tracing. Tracing in schools has been done in previous waves and the UCP government needs to do whatever it takes to re-implement it now,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Critic for Education on Sept. 23, 2021 following the province’s daily update on Alberta’s COVID-19 status.
“Only yesterday, British Columbia returned to a policy of tracing cases in schools. Alberta must follow suit and undertake every possible effort to stop the spread of this preventable disease in children.”
While parents and guardians are no longer required to inform the school if their child tested positive for COVID-19, they are still legally required to stay home and isolate if they present any COVID-19 symptoms or other symptoms of a respiratory illness based on Government of Alberta isolation and quarantine requirements.
WCPS also recommends in an update to their “2021-22 School Year: Guide for Parents/Guardians” that if your child has been a household contact of a positive COVID-19 case and is not fully immunized that hey should not attend school or outside of home activities for 14 days.
It is still unknown when the province will make school outbreak information public or what will be disclosed.