More COVID cases at BRHS, Whispering Ridge school

·2 min read

Beaverlodge Regional High School’s second and third COVID-19 cases were confirmed by Peace Wapiti School Division (PWSD) last Thursday and Monday.

Whispering Ridge Community School also currently has two.

Schools with two or more COVID cases are under an “alert” status under provincial guidelines.

According to PWSD, the second COVID patient at BRHS last attended school Friday, Jan. 22 and the third Tuesday, Jan. 26; the first last attended Jan. 19.

BRHS remains open for in-person learning but close contacts with the second patient must isolate until Friday or Saturday, depending on whether the last contact was on Jan. 21 or 22, according to PWSD.

Close contacts with the third patient must isolate until Feb. 10.

According to the Alberta government, a school is placed on “alert” with one to four cases. One case requires parents to be notified.

At two cases or more, Alberta Health Services personnel begin to investigate the school to gauge the risk level, said Kerry Williamson, AHS communications officer.

“Investigators identify potential exposures in order to limit spread,” Williamson said.

Investigations can take the form of contact tracing by the Communicable Disease Control team, or a public health inspector may visit the school, she said.

The inspector would look at the school’s procedures, cleaning products and disinfection process, Williamson said.

An alert lasts 28 days and is lifted if no further cases arise during that period; further cases become part of the investigation and the alert is extended, according to the government.

Angela Sears, PWSD communications officer, declined comment.

At five or more cases, an outbreak is declared at the school and additional measures can be taken. The school may switch to partial in-person classes or at-home learning, according to the government.

St. Mary School in Beaverlodge also had its first COVID-19 case confirmed last week.

PWSD reported one COVID case each at Whispering Ridge Community School and Rycroft School last week. A second case at WRCS was confirmed Sunday.

The schools also remain open for in-person learning.

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