ATHABASCA - Aspen View Public Schools (AVPS) reported this morning there are now 97 active cases associated with a COVID-19 outbreak at Edwin Parr Composite School in Athabasca — an increase of 24 since last Friday.
The school division also said Friday and reiterated in its April 6 media release that "Alberta Health Services has confirmed that a number of these cases have been determined to be COVID-19 variants." The Advocate has independently confirmed there are at least five active cases of the B.1.1.7 UK variant in the Athabasca region.
School-based close contacts associated with the outbreak cases, four of which are connected to Landing Trail Intermediate School (LTIS), have been contacted and advised to self-isolate.
• 563 students from Edwin Parr Composite School
• 63 staff from Edwin Parr Composite School
• 73 students from Landing Trail Intermediate School
• 3 staff from Landing Trail Intermediate School
• 66 students from Whispering Hills Primary School (close contacts through busing)
• 11 contracted bus drivers
Students at all three Athabasca schools have transitioned to online learning for the week of April 6-9 and are expected to resume in-person classes the following Monday, April 12.
“We are extremely concerned about the rapid growth of COVID-19 cases, which we understand may have been accelerated by the presence of COVID variant cases,” said Supt. Neil O’Shea in an April 2 release. “We are confident that moving all learning online is the best decision under the current circumstances.
“At this time, we anticipate that in-person learning will resume on Monday, April 12, 2021. However, as Aspen View Public Schools continues to monitor COVID-19 cases, including both those associated with schools and within the community, this timeline will be reviewed as needed.”
Yesterday, April 5, the Athabasca region had 234 active cases and the highest active case rate per 100,000 in the province at 1789.9 per 100,000 people in an area of 13,076 people. The next highest was in Ponoka County with 170 cases at 617.7 per 100,000, with 27,524 people.
There have been 432 total cases, 197 recoveries and one death in the region since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.
Aspen View reminds parents and guardians, as well as staff, to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. The Alberta Health daily checklist can be found here. The school division asks the checklist be completed each day prior to attending school.
If any of the core symptoms listed on the Alberta Health daily checklist are observed, it is advised to keep your child at home and fill out the online Alberta Health Services COVID-19 self-assessment or call Health Link at 811.
More information from Alberta Health on the variants can be found on the government website at https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-variants.aspx; information on close contact including of variant cases can be found at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17221.aspx; and information on isolation for positive variant cases and close contacts of variant cases can be found at https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17239.aspx.
Alberta’s mandatory public health restrictions can also be viewed here.