Beaverlodge Regional High, St. Mary schools confirm first COVID cases

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Dozens of students are isolating after a COVID-19 case was confirmed at Beaverlodge Regional High School and another at St. Mary School this week.

The schools remain open for in-person learning.

This is the first time a COVID case was confirmed at a Beaverlodge public school, said Angela Sears, Peace Wapiti School Division communications officer.

This is also the first case at St. Mary School, said Karl Germann, Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools (GPCSD) superintendent.

Neither Sears or Germann were prepared to comment on whether the cases in Beaverlodge are from members of the same family.

Germann did say the St. Mary School case involved a Grade 6 student and appeared to be caused by community rather than in-school transmission.

“The (virus) is not spreading in the classrooms, and particularly not at the elementary level,” Germann said.

“We’re finding we have enough protocols to keep kids and staff safe and to prevent transmission, and the schools are regularly cleaned.”

Families were notified over the weekend, he said.

Approximately 31 Grade 6 students are learning remotely until Feb. 4, he said.

St. Mary School has been disinfected and the rest of the school is open for in-person learning, he said.

Germann said there are currently COVID cases in other district schools: St. Joe’s, Kateri and St. Catherine in Grande Prairie.

St. Joe’s and Kateri each have between two and four cases, according to the Alberta government on Monday.

According to PWSD, the person who tested positive at BRHS last attended school Jan. 19.

PWSD didn’t disclose whether the person is a student or staff member, citing respect for the individual.

Sears said PWSD isn’t disclosing the number of students who are isolating as a result of the case, but those that are will do so until Feb. 2.

AHS is expected to provide close contacts with further instruction on testing and isolation, according to PWSD.

As BRHS was disinfected in-person learning resumed Monday for students and staff, according to PWSD.

This is the first COVID case at a PWSD school in 2021, Sears said.

Sexsmith Secondary School reported a COVID case in October and Whispering Ridge Community School was on provincial watch in November for having five or more cases.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News