Outbreak declared at Pincher Creek school

A “respiratory illness outbreak” was declared Monday at Pincher Creek’s Canyon School.

In a letter to parents, Livingstone Range School Division and Alberta Health Services said they had announced the outbreak at the elementary school “due to a large number of students sick with respiratory symptoms,” associated with cough/colds, the flu and Covid-19.

Sherri Gallant, spokesperson for AHS’s south zone, declined an interview Tuesday, citing “hundreds” of similar outbreaks at schools provincewide.

Darryl Seguin, superintendent for Livingstone Range, said Tuesday afternoon that the school division was monitoring the situation closely.

“Custodial staff has increased cleaning and disinfecting frequency. Where possible, teachers have rearranged classrooms to provide more distance between students and have encouraged frequent hand washing and other good respiratory hygiene practices,” he said in an email.

The outbreak comes as the school division wades deeper into an earlier and more aggressive respiratory virus season, according to the south zone’s lead medical health officer, Dr. Vivien Suttorp.

Parents are asked to keep their sick children at home and to encourage regular handwashing.

“Immunization is an important public health measure and all families, children and staff are encouraged to complete their routine immunizations, Covid-19 and influenza immunizations,” the school division and AHS stated in their letter.

Laurie Tritschler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze