March 13, 2020 Time: 12:20 p.m.
Over the last few weeks, we have committed to sharing updates regarding COVID-19 and what we are doing in our schools. We know things are changing daily and the situation is very fluid. We continue to maintain the safety and well-being of students, staff and our community as our top priority and that we will be following the advice given by our health professionals.
Please note we are not aware of any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our schools.
In a commitment to open communication, this information will be forwarded to our staff and posted on our website and social media platforms.
According to the Alberta Health Services website, “While the worldwide risk is rising, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta is still low. The risk level will be adjusted if this changes in the coming weeks.”
In a press conference held yesterday, March 12, at 3:30 PM, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the following:
“I want to announce that Alberta is adopting aggressive new public health measures to limit the spread of this virus. COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving global threat. It is more severe than seasonal influenza and more contagious than viruses like SARS.”
She went on to say, “At this time, schools and daycares can remain open but schools are encouraged to avoid large all-school gatherings.”
What We Have Done So Far as a School Division:
Increased the number of hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes in classrooms and common areas
Increased frequency of cleaning of high touch surfaces, such as water fountains, door handles, desks, and railings
Shared tips and preventative measures including good hygiene, social distancing and food sharing information on our social media sites and website
Shared communications on how to talk to children and students about COVID-19
On our website created a direct link to COVID-19 resources and the latest information.
Cancelled the school division international trip to Spain and France
Posted signs to encourage proper hygiene practices to prevent transmission of respiratory illness
Discouraged hand-shaking as part of sporting events
Cancellation of Basketball Zones Tournaments
Effective Monday, March 16, additional custodial hours will be allotted to all of our schools to increase cleaning frequency
Starting next week, bus drivers will be disinfecting handrails and seats
Following an emergency meeting of the ASAA Executive Committee at 5:00 pm on March 12, 2020, it has been determined that basketball provincials will be postponed indefinitely.
Yesterday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, also said "... effective immediately, the Emergency Management Cabinet Committee has approved my recommendation that all large gatherings of more than 250 people or international events in the province are to be cancelled. At this time, schools and daycares can remain open but schools are encouraged to avoid large all-school gatherings.” For smaller gatherings, she also stresses ‘risk mitigation must be in place’.
In the best interest of all and as a proactive measure, effective immediately:
Extra-curricular and curricular events, such as field trips and sporting events will be cancelled
Parent-teacher interviews, parent councils and other group meetings are now cancelled or postponed
School team practices and school-based clubs are cancelled
School assemblies will be cancelled or postponed
There will be no third party access to school facilities on evenings or weekends such as community sports teams and outside clubs
School professional development activities involving outside agencies and speakers will be postponed indefinitely
Today at 11:30 AM, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Theresa Tam advised against all non-essential outside of the country.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw yesterday said:
" In addition to these measures, I am expanding my recommendation from yesterday, and am advising Albertans to not travel outside of the country at this time. Given the rapid global spread of the virus, it is no longer possible to assess health risks for the duration of the trip.”
“Also, given the quickly evolving nature of this outbreak, I am recommending that Albertans who are currently outside the country self-isolate on their return for 14 days, independent of the country they were visiting.”
As such, we fully expect both staff and students returning from international travel starting Friday, March 13, 2020 and onward to comply with this precautionary measure.
Please note that prior to yesterday’s news conference, the recommendation from Dr. Hinshaw was that international travellers may return to work and only monitor themselves for symptoms.
Please know that we will provide updates as information becomes available. Our office will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and is developing contingency plans as required.
Any decision to close schools will be made in conjunction with Alberta Health.
Please follow our website and social media for updates.
Superintendent of Schools
St. Paul Education Regional Division #1
4313 - 48 Street
St. Paul, AB T0A 3A3
Phone: 780 645 3323
Fax: 780 645 5789