Barring any changes over the weekend, Grande Prairie students young and old should be heading back to school Monday. Grande Prairie Regional College says classes will continue as scheduled, with all involved paying attention to hygiene to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“GPRC has a response plan for pandemic situations and it is now being implemented,” officials explain. “The plan ensures the health and safety of our students and employees while maintaining our students’ ability to continue their programs.”
However, events being held on the campus have been cancelled, including the Fairview Campus convocation, President’s Awards Luncheon, and Student Business Conference, and Wolves Athletics events. All GPRC employees who have travelled internationally or been in contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19 are asked not to come to campus for 14 days.
The provincial government’s Emergency Management Cabinet Committee is also recommending that all publicly funded schools in Alberta stay open. It’s noted that no more than 250 people should be in the same room at the same time and that sports and other extracurricular activities that involve physical contact should be cancelled.
“I understand and appreciate many Albertans are concerned about their children and the risk of COVID-19,” says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Students should not be worried about attending class at this time. However, I encourage school boards to take these precautions and remind your staff and students about the personal steps they too can take to protect themselves from COVID-19.”
It was confirmed Friday that Alberta’s Employment Standards Code has been changed to allow employees required to self-isolate or care for a loved one with COVID-19 to take 14 days of paid, job-protected leave. There is also no requirement to have a medical note for the leave or to have worked for an employer for 90 days to qualify.
“We are taking COVID-19 extremely seriously and acting quickly to improve employment rules,” says Premier Jason Kenney. “That is why we are offering paid sick leave to help contain the spread of the virus. No one should have to choose between work and taking care of their health.”
Six more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the province, bringing the total to 29. All are travel-related, and none are in the North Zone.
The province also notes there are high call volumes to Health Link 811, with more than 6,300 calls daily. An online tool has been launched to help people decide whether they need to be tested for COVID-19.