All St. Joesph High School students returned to online learning on Monday with the majority of its students and staff in quarantine.
Alberta middle and high school students have only been back in class for two weeks following a shift to online learning in November to combat the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools reported that 68 per cent of the school’s students and 71 per cent of staff were in quarantine.
“The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” said superintendent Kathleen Finnigan in a statement.
She said in collaboration with school administration and Alberta Education, it was felt that returning to at-home learning for a short term was necessary as a proactive measure.
St. Joseph students will return to in-person learning on Feb. 8.
“We want to ensure the school community remains safe from any future exposure to COVID-19.”
A Friday report confirmed that one individual at the school was COVID postive on Jan. 20.
In a Jan. 24 letter to parents, the Catholic jurisdiction reminded them to continue monitoring daily for any symptoms of COVID-19.
“As we progress toward the beginning of this second semester we wanted to remind our school community of the importance of limiting social contact not only while at school, but also outside of school hours.
“Please speak to your children and remind them of the importance of being more diligent than ever. We are concerned that outside interactions could continue to negatively impact our daily school operations.”
St. Joseph staff were going to be in touch with families about online learning. Families needing technology should contact the school.
Bruce Buruma, community relations director at Red Deer Public Schools, said the district has seen three positive COVID cases since classes resumed this month, with the first case on Jan. 15.
Schools impacted were West Park Elementary School, Normandeau School and Central Middle School. Between 19 to 54 students per school were quarantined.
He said parents, students and teachers were grateful for classes resuming at school. It’s where the best learning takes place.
“We would love to avoid not having to go back to online learning. But that depends on how vigilant we are. It’s been a long stretch, but we just need to continue to be diligent,” said Buruma who worried that the upcoming one-year anniversary of the March lockdown will be a challenging time.