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School divisions hope contact tracing will help reduce COVID-19 spread

With contact tracing and confirmed-case notifications now returning to schools across Grande Prairie, local school divisions are hoping the change in direction when it comes to COVID-19 protocols will make a difference in bending the curve.

Grande Prairie Public School Division Superintendent Sandy McDonald while they’re still waiting for details regarding what the process for contact tracing and notification of confirmed school-based cases of COVID-19 will look like, he believes schools in the jurisdiction are happy to help in any way they can.

“I can say that we are looking forward to our schools being able to share this information with their staff and parents,” he says.

“It will be extra work for our staff, but we look forward to being able to help share information we receive from AHS and hopefully address anxiety about the unknown impact of COVID-19 this fall on students in our schools.”

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Starting Wednesday, Alberta Health will also be reporting the names of schools with at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19. On Tuesday, Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange also said a targeted at-home rapid test program will be offered to elementary schools experiencing outbreaks of ten or more cases of COVID-19 that were infectious while at school.

Peace Wapiti Public School Division Superintendent Bob Stewart says they currently notify families when they are made aware of a positive case, but he says that hinges on the family sharing personal information with the school administration.

“AHS will begin informing schools as well so that will ensure schools are aware of all the cases in their communities,” he says.

“Definitely having AHS back in the ballgame will help us when it comes to identifying and reporting all of the cases to our school communities.”

Contact tracing is set to be reintroduced in schools on October 12th.

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