Thousands of Calgary students, staff in self-isolation

Thousands of Calgary students, staff in self-isolation

CALGARY —
Thousands of Calgary students and school staff members are being forced to self-isolate, which has at least one school concerned about the negative impact on learning.

At least two high schools in the Catholic school district, Bishop McNally and St. Francis, have hundreds in self-isolation.St. Francis is asking parents to speak to their kids about preventing possible exposure to the virus while socializing outside of school.

The public school board says about 2,400 staff and students are now in self-isolation after having close contact with an infected person in a school.

The Catholic district says about 2,700 students and staff are in isolation.

Combined, St. Francis and Bishop McNally high schools account for over 900 of those in quarantine, or one third of the Catholic district’s cases.

According to the province, 13 Calgary schools currently have outbreaks, which means two to four cases.

11 more schools are on watch status, which means five or more infections.

In a letter sent to parents yesterday, St. Francis officials said with hundreds quarantined, it was having a negative impact on the school community, disrupting its core focus of educating students in the school.

The letter pointed to social gatherings outside of school as being the source of recent COVID-19 cases.

It urged parents to emphasize to their kids the need for physical distancing, to avoid large gatherings, sharing food and drinks, especially with Halloween weekend approaching.

That was driven home Monday by the province’s top doctor, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who announced that social gatherings must be capped at a maximum of 15 people.

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The Catholic school district said 90 per cent of its substitute teachers’ roster is working every day, adding that some schools could be forced to move classes online if stretched much thinner.

Last week, the CBE admitted it was having challenges getting substitute teachers to step in because of the virus.

With files from Camilla di Giuseppe

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