47 COVID-19 cases linked to outbreak at northern Alberta school, classes moving online

A file photo of an empty classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio

A coronavirus outbreak at a school in Athabasca, Alta., is now “associated with 47 active COVID-19 cases,” according to the school division it’s a part of.

On its website, Aspen View Public Schools posted Tuesday that staff and students at Edwin Parr Composite (EPC) School who are believed to have had close contact with people who have tested positive, have been contacted and told to stay home.

Because of the outbreak, the school division said in-person classes at the school will be briefly suspended next month.

“For operational reasons due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all EPC students in all grades will shift to online learning from April 6-9, 2021, following spring break,” the school division said.

“Online learning will be delivered in a similar manner to the shift to online learning that took place in December.”

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According to Aspen View Public Schools, over 500 people at EPC are considered close contacts of positive cases: 468 students and 48 staff. Because of how students are bussed to school, six bus drivers, 41 students from Landing Trail Intermediate School and 30 students from Whispering Hills Primary School are also considered close contacts.

“One of the active cases is associated to Landing Trail Intermediate School,” Aspen View Public Schools said. “However, the positive case has not recently attended the school; therefore, there are no school-based close contacts associated with it.”

EPC is one of the schools listed as experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak on the provincial government’s website. On Monday, Alberta Health said 409 schools had active alerts or outbreaks of COVID-19, representing about 17 per cent of Alberta schools. A total of 1,809 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Alberta schools since Jan. 11.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What schools in Alberta have COVID-19 outbreaks 

“Aspen View administration and the leadership teams at all three Athabasca schools have communicated with school families and staff as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Supt. Neil O’Shea said.

“We are in regular communication with Alberta Health Services as this situation evolves.”

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O’She said he expects in-person learning at EPC to resume on April 12 but noted that “as Aspen View Public School continues to monitor the EPC COVID-19 outbreak, this timeline will be reviewed as needed.”

“We sincerely thank all our school families for their understanding at this time, and we will continue to provide additional information to parents/guardians as it becomes available,” he said.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about the impact of COVID-19 on schools in Alberta.

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