Alberta To Resume Contact Tracing In Schools; Provide Rapid Testing Kits

The Government of Alberta (GoA) is upping their measures for schools across the province.

Alberta Health will be resuming public reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools, contact notifications in schools, and providing rapid testing kits.

Starting Oct. 6, each school with two COVID-19 cases will be identified online and schools with 10 more cases, that were recorded within a 14 day period, will be reported publicly.

Starting Oct. 12, parents will be informed if their child may have been a close contact to a COVID-19 case at school.

Alberta Health Services will be working with schools in coming weeks on contact tracing. Parents will be able to check an online map to view alerts and outbreaks at schools in the coming weeks when their contact notification program is in place.

Starting in late October, the Government of Alberta will be offering rapid testing kits for Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools experiencing outbreaks, as vaccines are not available for this age group.

Rapid tests will be handed out to parents and schools that are in an outbreak status. The tests are voluntary and will be administered at home a a screening tool for students who are asymptomatic.

The GoA is strongly encouraging all school authorities to implement policies that require proof of vaccine or negative COVID-19 tests for teachers, staff and anyone who enters the school, but does not apply to students.

Breakdown of terms and policies:

  • Alberta Health will publicly report the name of each school with at least two COVID-19 cases, categorized by the following:
    • Alert – two to four cases
    • Alert – five to nine cases
    • Outbreak – 10-plus cases
  • An outbreak investigation will be completed by AHS for schools with 10 or more cases within a 14-day period.
  • On an interim basis, school authorities will determine close contacts for students in schools using criteria provided by AHS and will notify families of close contacts in a school setting only.
  • Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 will shift to learning at home if there are three or more infectious cases in the class in a five-day period. Families will be asked to avoid public places, monitor for symptoms and get tested if the student becomes symptomatic, but will not otherwise be required to quarantine.
  • All individuals who have COVID-19 are required to isolate and remain at home for 14 days, regardless of their age.
  • Public health measures remain in place in schools including:
    • Mandatory masking for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.
    • Elementary schools are to implement class cohorting.
    • Indoor sports, fitness, recreation and performance activities are permitted in schools, with requirements to maintain two-metre physical distancing where possible.
    • Masks and distancing are not required by youth under age 18 while engaged in physical activity.
    • Students and staff should screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist.
    • Isolate if you have core COVID-19 symptoms or test positive.
    • If there is a case in your child’s class or school, monitor your child closely for symptoms.
    • Follow best practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

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