The start of a new school year is less than a month away, and COVID-19 still presents a very real threat to public health.
The Province of Alberta announced in July that it would be going ahead with in-person education, though it is requiring that masks be worn by students from Grade 4 through Grade 12, alongside other protocols.
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As an added safety measure, the province is now asking that all teachers and school staff receive an asymptomatic coronavirus test prior to the start of the school year.
“I’m asking teachers and educational staff to arrange testing proactively starting next week,” stated Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a coronavirus update on Wednesday.
“Do not wait until the day before you are set to return to your school. More info will be shared via your superintendents in the coming days.”
To ensure capacity for teachers and staff hoping to get asymptomatic tests over the next few weeks, Hinshaw also asked that asymptomatic Albertans hold off on scheduling a coronavirus tests through AHS or at their local pharmacies until September 1.
Even though they’re returning to classrooms en masse, school children should also hold off on getting tested for COVID-19 unless they are symptomatic or have pre-existing medical conditions with symptoms similar to coronavirus, Hinshaw stated.
“It is natural that many feel anxious about the coming school year. I believe that when everyone in the school community does their part, we can limit the number of cases in schools and keep children, staff, and teachers as safe as possible,” she said.