École Springfield Elementary in Peace River is now under outbreak status due to at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says cases in schools are not unexpected and are not a cause for alarm. She says as seen in other settings, there will be cases in classrooms.

“We are working with schools and Alberta Health Services to keep these numbers as small as possible and to prevent broad spread within a school.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she recognizes that there is anxiety when it comes to students returning to the classroom, and is being as transparent as possible when I share information about cases. She adds that while an outbreak is an eye-catching word, the outbreak status threshold is low.

“I want to remind you that we define an outbreak as two or more confirmed cases in individuals who have been present at the school in the last 14 days…that is a very low number to reach and is not an indication of uncontrolled spread.”

Dr. Hinshaw says there is some positive news when it comes to some of the initial cases reported in schools across Alberta.

“In five schools, alerts have ended and all students and staff who were self-isolating at home have gone back to class with no in-school transmission.”

You can find more information about COVID-19 cases in schools on the Government of Alberta website.