Foothills School Division announced a second positive case of COVID-19 at its Okotoks high school on Wednesday night.
“Two cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in individuals who were within École Secondaire Foothills Composite High School,” a release from the division stated which was sent out the evening of Sept. 16. “As always, our thoughts remain with these individuals and their families, we wish them both a safe and speedy recovery.”
The individuals were last in the school on Sept. 11. Alberta Health Services deems an outbreak is at a school when there are two or more cases.
Two classes at Foothills Composite High School were sent home by Alberta Health Services for contact tracing on Sept. 17.
However, there still remains the two positive cases connected to the school, that number has not changed.
At Deena Hinshaw’s, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, press conference on Sept. 17, she stated at this point none of the cases in Alberta schools were results of transmission within schools.
The release, which was signed by principal Vince Hunter and Chris Fuzessy, superintendent of schools, stated Public Health will be contacting parents / guardians of students, as well as any staff / visitors / volunteers who have been identified as having been in close contact with the individuals.
Students who are required to isolate will be supported to learn at home.
Learning will be accessible and flexible through a teacher provided online platform as students continue their education remotely during their isolation period.
Teachers will remain in contact and will be sharing learning plans with students at that time. Learning plans will consist of learning activities, resources, and information on assessment of student progress.
The school remains open to in-class learning.
After it was learned the first individual had tested positive, Hunter said in an interview the news was concerning, but not necessarily surprising.
“We have a large student body (1,300-plus) and all of our families have lives outside of school,” Hunter said after the first case was announced. “With a rise in COVID cases in the province, there’s potential for someone in our school to come in contact with someone who has the virus… I wasn’t shocked that it happened.
“We have worked really hard to make the campus as safe as possible.”
The first person tested positive on Sept. 15 and notice was sent to parents that day.
“We were already preparing and when it was confirmed early yesterday morning, at that time we were able to work quickly with Chris (Fuzessy) and we worked hand-in-hand with Alberta Health Services to make sure everything is well," Hunter said.
Fuzessy visited the school and made himself available to staff and students on Sept. 16.
Hunter said he lost sleep the night of Sept. 15 concerning the reaction from the school community.
“I received communication from families who had questions. They were gracious and very supportive of the building,” Hunter said. “They recognized the school and the students have done a great job of keeping our kids safe.
“I thought they would be kicking and yelling, but they were very thoughtful.”
It was business as the new-normal on Sept. 16.
“The kids came to school today,” Hunter said. “They aren’t being silly about it. They don’t appear to be nervous or worried. Some had questions, but they recognize people are doing their very best to follow procedures to keep everyone safe.”
Hunter said the school will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and monitor the situation.
Italics is new information from earlier post.