CALGARY (660 NEWS) – While Alberta politicians believe the first week of school went well, many teachers, principals and students disagree.
At least seven schools in southern Alberta have reported positive cases of COVID-19 since students returned last week, including a few schools in Calgary.
St. Angela, Bridlewood School, Lester B. Pearson High School, and Bowness High School have all reported cases of the virus.
Other schools with confirmed COVID-19 cases include Raymond High School, St. Mary’s in Fort Vermillion, and Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore.
Over the weekend, an entire class at Bowness was told to self-isolate for two weeks because of the positive case.
Principal Jana Macdonald said staff followed all Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines, yet they still couldn’t stop the virus.
In a Facebook post, she said she is exhausted, devastated and sad at how the situation has unfolded and puts the blame squarely on the UCP government.
“This is the scenario I thought about all summer and here it is. My staff, teachers, support staff and caretakers have worked so hard to create a safe and welcoming space for our students to learn. I feel a very heavy load and I’ve never been more angry. This is your fault, Jason. This is your fault, Adriana. Why don’t you come and visit us this week to show your support?” Macdonald writes.
This post is being shared on social media, it shows a FB post from the principal of Bowness HS. She says her school followed every single Alberta Health Services guideline, yet they still found themselves w/ a positive #COVID19 case.#Alberta #Calgary #yyc — Full post: pic.twitter.com/K21A4PBoiR
— Saif Kaisar (@StaySaif) September 8, 2020
A spokesperson for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said she is not opposed to visiting schools if appropriate, but the advice of public health officials and the school divisions has been to avoid unnecessary visitors.
“Schools are not currently allowing parents entry to the facilities. Any invitation would be evaluated based on advice from local school divisions and public health officials,” said Colin Aitchison.
In regards to the positive cases, the Minister’s office said it’s unavoidable that schools experience some cases.
“As Dr. Hinshaw has repeatedly said, we need to learn to live with COVID-19. Thankfully the medical evidence shows that school-age children without pre-existing conditions are not highly susceptible to the effects of COVID-19.”
The case at Bowness was brought in from outside the school and not linked to a staff member or student.
Another school, Arbour Lake School, sent out a notice to parents about a positive test with a school bus driver with Southland Transportation.
In the notice, the principal of the school said no students were identified as close contacts and the bus has been removed for enhanced cleaning.
Arbour Lake School issued a letter to parents saying an individual working for Southland Transportation has tested positive for COVID-19. No students were identified as close contacts. pic.twitter.com/zG0nBBwEru
— Jeff Slack (@Jeffslack660) September 8, 2020
Meanwhile, SOS Alberta said a letter was also sent to parents of Divine Mercy School in Calgary after a student tested positive for COVID-19.
The school is asking students from several different homeroom classes to stay at home.
The letter said staff is working with AHS and the public health inspector to ensure all public spaces are thoroughly cleaned.
According to the COVID-19 tracker from SOS, about 19 schools across Alberta have reported cases of COVID-19.
AHS said it will work directly with schools to limit the spread of COVID-19, but won’t provide any case-specific details as it said a single case in schools won’t be considered an outbreak.