Westwinds school division taking extra precautions after case of COVID-19 reported
Raymond High School.
CALGARY -- The Westwind School Division disinfected all three Raymond schools Sunday after a case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in an individual from Raymond High School.
Alberta Health Services has contacted all those who may have been in close contact with the individual and determined it was not necessary to cancel classes, or quarantine anyone else.
Westwind Supt. Darren Mazutinec said he was contacted by AHS on Sunday.
“They had completed all the contact tracing and would let people know, if they were in direct contact, what their next steps were,” said Mazutinec.
“They didn't that more people were exposed so we could continue with a normal opening.”
Mazutinec said the school was not required to quarantine any classes, teachers or other students.
Alberta Health Services did not provide an age, or identify the individual. Mazutinec said it’s their understanding that the person is doing fine.
Some students at Raymond High School said they were not overly concerned.
“It doesn’t really worry me,” said Rebecka Long.
“I think I’m just going to be more cautious,” added Emily Clapton. “I don’t want to get it because I don’t want to take it home to my family.”
But Alberta labour organizations said the process of reopening schools is not going as well as it could, or should be.
The Alberta Federation of Labour is one of four organizations calling on the government to create a stakeholder taskforce to assess the school reopening plan on an ongoing basis, and make changes whenever and wherever they are needed.
“We basically have a medical plan for keeping people safe that is being shoe-horned into an education environment,” said AFL President Gil McGowan.
“The results are not as good as they could have been if they (the Alberta government) had talked to people in the front line.”
McGowan said the task force should include educators, parents and support workers, along with representatives from the Medical Officer of Health, to share information and answer questions directly.
“The current plan has many gaps and has been created without proper consultation,” he said.
The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Unifor joined the AFL in calling for establishment of the stakeholder group, and regular meetings, to assess, adapt and respond to shifting needs and conditions in schools.
The groups are also urging the Alberta government to use some of the $262-million dollar grant from the Federal government to reduce class sizes and improve physical distancing in schools.
The Westwind School Division said it is following directions from AHS and Alberta Education in response to the COVID-19 case at Raymond High School. But Mazutinec said they went even further by having staff disinfect all three Raymond schools on Sunday.
“We weren’t told by Alberta Health, that wasn’t a requirement,” said Mazutinec.
“We weren’t going to take any chances with our Westwind students, and their safety is our utmost importance.”
The school division is also reminding students, families, staff and volunteers to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID, and complete the AHS COVID-19 checklist each day, prior to attending school.