Self Reported COVID-19 Case Notifications

Self Reported COVID-19 Notifications for Schools
Posted on 09/16/2021
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Medicine Hat, AB (Sept 16, 2021): The government of Alberta has announced new mandatory public health measures for K- 12 schools effective Sept 16, 2021, as follows:

  • Mandatory masking for students in grades 4 and up, plus staff and teachers in all grades.

As you know, mandatory masking requirements are currently in place in MHPSD schools. However, the Board of Trustees of Medicine Hat Public School Division has authorized revisions to our masking protocol, to strengthen the mandatory provincial measures announced on Sept 15, 2021.

Beginning Monday, September 20th, the following revisions will take effect for all students in K-12 and for all staff:

  • All staff, and students in K – 12, are required to wear masks while on school buses and when inside Medicine Hat Public School Division schools and properties.
    • Masks may be removed during physical activity, when eating, and outside.
    • Students may, with teacher permission, take mask breaks when seated and working independently, or when two meters distant from any other person.
    • Staff may remove masks while teaching if they are two meters distant from their class. 
    • We recommend that each student bring at least 2 clean masks for school each day. Review page 3 in our 2021-2022 Back to School Plan for detailed information about mandatory mask requirements. 
  • MHPSD protocols are already consistent with the other mandatory public health measures in our schools. For detailed information about the government announcement visit alberta.ca/covid 

The safety of students and staff is our top priority, and we continue to be vigilant in our response to the pandemic. We are providing information about self-reported positive cases, so families are aware of how COVID-19 is impacting our schools. This will help families to make informed choices about the health and safety of their children. We will inform families when an individual connected to a classroom has self-reported a positive case(s) of COVID-19, this information will be reported daily on school websites. Note: In some cases, we need to identify a class using a teachers name, that DOES NOT mean that the teacher is COVID-19 positive, but that an individual connected to the class has self-reported a positive test result.  

AHS is no longer directly monitoring positive COVID-19 cases in schools and does not require close contacts to quarantine. Because we no longer have the benefit of contact tracing, and the associated information, such as date of exposure and symptom onset, we are not able to provide specifics details. If you choose to keep your child home to isolate because of a close contact (either in school or outside of school), please communicate your expected return date with the school. Teachers will continue to educate students in their classrooms and will ensure that learning materials and assignments are available on google classroom, so students that are isolating at home can follow along. Unfortunately, with the shift away from test, trace and isolate, we do not have the capacity to guarantee both face to face and live, online instruction in the same way we did last year. Last year, when there was a positive case identified in a class, students and staff were sent home. This made it easier for the teacher to manage instruction for the entire class, as all were in the same environment. 

High School Students: In the quarter system, if students choose to isolate and spend multiple days away from the classroom it will have a significant impact on learning. Face to face learning is the best option for students and we recommend coming to school whenever possible.   

We ask that families continue to report absences in safe arrival, please choose one of the following:  

  • Absent (Close Contact) - Your child is isolating because they are a close contact (either at school or away from school).  Please share your expected return date with the school.  
  • Absent (Health) - Child is sick with symptoms that are NOT related to COVID-19 
  • Absent (COVID-19 Positive) - While families are encouraged to report a positive COVID-19 case, it is not required. Use this code if your child is COVID positive.  

If we are aware of positive COVID-19 cases, we can take appropriate action to mitigate the spread to the best of our ability. Important note: Personal medical information that is disclosed to the school will be held in confidence and will not be shared.   

AHS recommends the following to help prevent the spread of illness: 

  • Do not send your child to school if they are ill. Complete the COVID-19 Alberta Health Daily Checklist for your child.  
  • Ensure that your child and others in your household perform hand hygiene frequently by washing their hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub. 
  • Promote and remind your child and family members to practice respiratory hygiene: 
    • cough and sneeze into their sleeve or  
    • cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing  
    • throw away used tissues immediately after sneezing, coughing or wiping their nose. 
    • perform hand hygiene as described above. 
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched such as door knobs, light switches and bathroom taps. 
  • Ensure that you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine, if eligible. 

Albertans that test positive or have any core symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition are legally required to isolate for 10 days. For more information on what to do when children have any symptoms of illness please follow AHS isolation and quarantine requirements

For media inquiries contact lee.krasilowez@sd76.ab.ca or call/text 403.977.9096. We will continue to provide information to parents and guardians as it is available, thank you for your continued support.     

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