September 20, 2021 Update
Here is the update from our Superintendent regarding contact tracing:
September 17, 2021
Good afternoon Holy Spirit Catholic School Divison families:
Earlier this week, senior leaders and school-based administrators met to discuss whether, as a division, we should be sharing with our families and communities self-declared positive COVID cases which are brought to our attention by parents. As you well know, there are many views on this which are extremely polarizing in nature.
While many would argue that passing this personal and private information to our public gets the word out about the seriousness of this dreadful disease, we are not a health authority and we no longer have Alberta Health Services (AHS) doing contact tracing, which took place during the entirety of last school year. As such, and after careful consideration, we have decided that we would NOT be sharing this information, for many reasons, but to name a few:
- Not all parents are comfortable sharing this information with us and the absence of complete disclosure from everyone could present an inaccurate sense of what might actually be going on in the community, which might suggest a false sense of reality and safety;
- There is a very heavy stigma associated with identifying as COVID positive;
- There will be significant unrest and increased anxiety if members of the community know of a positive case in a school that was not reported to us;
- There could be serious ramifications around false or inaccurate reporting;
- By the process of elimination, disclosure of a positive case in a classroom could lead to identification of an individual;
- Over communication of positive cases will send a message that may desensitize the issue;
- The public’s uncertainty of what a close contact is can cause people to gossip, especially when no specific information given; and
- As there are people who present without symptoms, individuals may not be aware that they are COVID positive.
The bottom line is that COVID-19 is real AND in our communities. Each of us must be vigilant in how we protect ourselves in the choices we make around health measures (staying home when sick, masking, hand sanitizing, physical distancing, and doing the Alberta Health COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool on a daily basis for everyone attending or working in our schools).
As always, we are continuing to report to AHS absences of 10% or more at each school in our division. Parents and guardians may receive a letter from AHS when this threshold is reached at respective schools.
I wish to thank all of you for your continued support in these very challenging and trying times.
Ken Sampson, Superintendent of Schools
September 10, 2021
We want to take this opportunity to share with our FLVT community the current policy regarding COVID-19 Contact Tracing. Many of you may remember the process last year of our school working with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to inform parents of a positive case in a classroom and identifying the students in the class cohort as close contacts. Self-isolation and recommended COVID-19 testing followed.
Now, AHS does not require schools to contact trace; it is prohibited. Contact tracing is the responsibility of the individual that has tested positive for COVID-19. If we have a confirmed positive case at school, and to our knowledge, we have not, the school will not share information with parents, classmates, or staff. Again, according to AHS, any contact tracing is the individual’s responsibility that has tested positive. Although this process change may be difficult to understand, it is the process the school must follow.
For the most recent updates regarding COVID-19, please refer to the following: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17221.aspx
To summarize, we can no longer share with our community that a member has tested positive. Instead, it is incumbent upon the individual to connect with everyone who may have been in ‘close contact’ during the infectious period.