Dear Westmount Parents/Guardians,
The number of COVID-19 cases in our province has significantly increased over the past few weeks. As a result, the Alberta government released new COVID-19 public health actions, some of which impact schools. Details of the changes may be accessed at: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx
Masks are now provincially required for all students from grades 4-12; however, Westmount will maintain its current masking requirement for all students K-12. The schools will continue to allow masks to be removed by staff and students while following appropriate protocols in classrooms, during physical activities, during band classes, extra-curricular athletic events and other outdoor activities as examples.
With regard to contact tracing, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has declared that it is no longer confirming positive cases in schools or working with schools to identify close contacts. Close contacts are no longer legally required to self-isolate or quarantine as was the case last year.
We understand that families would appreciate receiving notifications of positive cases of COVID-19 in our schools. Starting on Monday, September 20, our schools will begin providing notifications when families self-report an AHS-confirmed case of COVID-19 to their school. If families report a positive case to the school, we will accept the notification as consent for the school to send out a notice to specific classes associated with the self-reported case, as well as a general notice to the school community at the end of the school day.
Aligned with privacy legislation, we are not able to provide any additional information about positive cases. If you have questions regarding contact tracing or reporting, please contact AHS.
It is important that your child stay home when sick, but it is also important for them to attend school if they are feeling well. As close contacts are no longer required to isolate, if you choose to keep your child at home and they are not symptomatic, it will be marked as an unexcused absence.
If there is a 10 per cent or greater student absentee rate that includes symptoms similar to COVID-19, AHS will work with the school and may declare an outbreak. Families will be informed if an outbreak is declared at their school and these notices will be posted to the school website.
You can learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and testing from the Government of Alberta website.
For additional information on AHS’ response to COVID-19 in schools, please see: Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools.
I thank you for your understanding and support as we continue our efforts together to ensure our students’ and staff well-being.