CAPE forced to postpone first day of school due to COVID

·2 min read

CAPE School was scheduled to have students return to classes today, but due to a high number of staff testing positive for COVID, opening day has been postponed until next week.

“The staff were working last week, getting ready for the new year and to welcome students come Monday. By midweek reports of positive testing started coming in,” Superintendent Teresa DiNinno said.

The school provides staff with rapid test kits, which are readily available to them and their immediate family. Testing was being done in expectation of returning students. By 2 p.m. Sunday, it was clear there would not be enough teachers or substitutes to cover all classes.

Projected opening date is now Tuesday, September 6. The school wanted to open before the long weekend this year to get the program organized.

“We have a significant number of new staff members. We felt we needed the time to get everything ready and to get the students in school so they could get back to a routine,” said DiNinno.

CAPE was looking forward to getting back to a program of studies similar to pre-pandemic and wanted to get the students settle back in classes, she added.

“We weren’t counting on the large number of positives,” explained DiNinno. “From Wednesday to Sunday, we realized more and more staff members were testing positive and the larger number of them were teachers. We suggested strongly they keep testing and isolating.”

At this point, she said, the hope is for everyone to get well during this week. Additionally, those who haven’t tested positive will be monitored to ensure they continue to test negative.

“When we get back next Tuesday, we want a healthy staff welcoming a healthy group of kids. Our focus point is to protect staff, students, parents and their extended families and community, to keep them as safe as possible. Health and wellness is a key practice for us,” stressed DiNinno.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News