Entire Edmonton Catholic elementary school moves to online learning after COVID-19 cases

St. Francis of Assisi Elementary in northeast Edmonton pictured on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.
St. Francis of Assisi Elementary in northeast Edmonton pictured on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. Wes Rosa, Global News

All of the students at a Catholic elementary school in northeast Edmonton will shift to online learning beginning Friday, after the entire teaching staff went into self-isolation following a meeting last week.

Last week, St. Francis of Assisi Elementary in the Balwin neighbourhood held an in-person staff meeting with 22 teaching staff members in attendance, a spokesperson for Edmonton Catholic Schools said Thursday.

Read more: All Grade 12 students at John G. Diefenbaker High School sent home after confirmed COVID-19 cases

The school district said physical distancing, proper use of PPE, proper hand hygiene and school protocols were maintained during the staff meeting.

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Despite this, one of the teachers who was in attendance, and two other staff members who were not at the meeting, have since tested positive for COVID-19.

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As a result, the entire teaching staff is now isolating as a precaution.

Read more: Coronavirus: What schools in Alberta have COVID-19 outbreaks

About 254 students will now shift from in-person classes to remote learning beginning Friday morning. In-person classes are set to resume for students on Monday, Nov. 23, according to the school district.

“Pivoting to online learning is a necessary measure to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and to ensure a safe and uninterrupted learning environment for students,” ECS spokesperson Lori Nagy said in a statement.

“A letter was sent to parents late yesterday, asking parents to monitor their children for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Today, substitute teachers are working with the staff in isolation to ensure that in-person learning continues on-site and tomorrow classes will continue online for all students.”

Nagy said about 50 students from the school were already learning through the remote, online option.