A Red Deer parent is expressing concern after Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 immunization clinic was moved next to the private school his children attend.
Creekside Creative Academy, an accredited funded independent school that offers programming for students from junior kindergarten to Grade 3, as well as daycare and after-school care, is currently located on the second floor of Westerner Park’s Prairie and Stockmens Pavilion.
On Friday, the AHS immunization clinic moved from its location in Exhibition Hall and is now operating on the same floor as the academy.
“We put our kids (into Creekside) thinking they would be in good hands. The vaccination clinic was downstairs at the Westerner and it was a sufficient distance away – we didn’t think it was going to be a problem,” said Dallas Trimble, who has two children, a four-year-old and one-year-old.
“But with 24 hours notice, they moved the clinic. They didn’t consult with us or anything, they just decided to move the clinic next to where the kids are.”
The space currently being leased for the immunization clinic shares a few common areas with Creekside, including a hallway, AHS said in a statement Saturday.
Trimble said he and other parents are concerned by this decision for multiple reasons, including the potential exposure of COVID-19 to children under 12, who are not able to be vaccininated.
“We don’t want our kids to be in danger from strangers they don’t know and we don’t want them to put their health at risk,” he said.
“I think the choice to put a vaccination clinic next to a daycare and (school) is not the best one.”
AHS said it has been working with Westerner Park and Creekside to address concerns raised about the immunization clinic’s proximity to the academy.
“Our goal is to continue collaborating with our landlord, Westerner Park, and other tenants in the building to provide services in the safest manner possible,” AHS said in a statement.
AHS noted it does not perform COVID-19 testing at this location – the testing site was relocated to a separate building without any other tenants, on the south side of the grounds.
“In the last week, AHS has worked with Westerner Park to respond to concerns raised by Creekside to ensure there are separate entrances, washrooms and parking areas for our staff and clients away from those used by the school, as well as repositioning our screening station and providing enhanced wayfinding support to ensure clients do not linger or line up in shared spaces,” said AHS.
In a statement to the Advocate, Creekside Creative Academy said: “At this time the Westerner, Alberta Health Services, and ourselves are working together through the logistics to ensure the safety of everyone. We have no further information at this time.”
This is Creekside Creative Academy’s first year in Red Deer.
According to a Facebook post from this past March, Creekside Creative Academy originally planned to operate at another location. After those plans fell through, Creekside and Westerner Park came to an agreement to provide students with a space to learn for the 2021-22 school year.
AHS said it is also adhering to all COVID-19 protocols and practices.
“This includes COVID-19 screening of all clients entering the building, continuous masking and hand hygiene practices for staff and clients alike as part of our committed to ensuring infection prevention and control practices are in effect in all facilities, including those that are leased or rented, as we continue to carry-out our pandemic response,” AHS said.