by Morinville News Staff
The Government of Alberta is taking aggressive additional public health measures provincewide to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans after new cases appear to be spreading into community settings.
17 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Albert in the past 24 hours, bringing Alberta to 56 cases, three of which are in the Edmonton zone and 14 are in the Calgary zone. At least two cases appear to have been acquired through community transmission from an unknown source, and seven cases occurred as a result of a single gathering in the Calgary zone.
In light of community transmission, effective immediately, student attendance at schools is prohibited, post-secondary classes are cancelled, but campuses will remain open. Additionally, all licensed child care facilities, out-of-school care programs, and preschool programs are closed indefinitely.
All long-term care and other continuing care facilities are advised to limit visitation to essential visitors only.
Places of worship are also no longer exempt from restrictions on mass gatherings.
“The new cases that have emerged today, particularly those demonstrating transmission into communities and school settings, means we need to put in place additional restrictions for schools, daycares, continuing care facilities, and worship gatherings,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “These decisions are not made lightly, and I know they will have a tremendous impact on Albertans’ day-to-day lives, particularly parents, children, and seniors. But it is crucial we do everything possible to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19.”
With classes cancelled in K-12 grades and post-secondary institutions until further government notice, school authorities are expected to continue their regular day-to-day operations and ensure the safety of school facilities. Maintenance, capital projects, cleaning of facilities and administrative work will continue.
The government says every K-12 student will receive a final mark and students will progress to their next grade level next year. Provincial assessments, such as provincial achievement tests, will be cancelled. Diploma exams essential for post-secondary acceptance will continue. Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate,” the Minister of Education said.
The province says it will also be working with post-secondary institutions to ensure that circumstances do not prevent students from being eligible for admission to post-secondary studies for the coming school year.
Teachers and other school staff will still be expected to work, either from home or at their workplace, to ensure these expectations are met. Decisions on how to do this are still to be made, and it may vary depending on the school jurisdiction.
All licensed child care, out-of-school care programs, and preschool programs in Alberta are closed at this time, as well. Approved day homes are exempt because they care for fewer than seven children at a time. These programs are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation practices.