As Alberta’s active number of COVID-19 cases climbed throughout March, so too did cases in Rocky View County’s schools.
As of March 31, cases were present in at least seven schools throughout the county, according to data on the Alberta government’s COVID-19 school status map. Edge School in Springbank reported an outbreak of 10 or more cases by the end of the month, while W.G. Murdoch School in Crossfield, Springbank Community High School, Springbank Middle School, Khalsa School Calgary Educational Foundation in Conrich each reported an outbreak of five to nine active cases.
In addition, Bearspaw School and Prince of Peace Lutheran School were listed under “alert” status, with each school reporting two to four active cases.
“Alberta Health Services has confirmed outbreaks at some RVS schools in March,” read a statement from Rocky View Schools (RVS). “Schools remained open for those not impacted to come to class, and students identified as close contacts have been learning at home, with many of them having already returned to in-person classes following their isolation.”
According to RVS’ statement, about 95 per cent of students and close to 90 per cent of staff at Springbank Middle School were able to attend the school as of March 31, while the remaining students and staff were still self-isolating due to being close contacts of a positive case. In Bearspaw School, about 87 per cent of the student population and 80 per cent of staff were able to attend the school in person as of that date.
The situation was worse at W.G. Murdoch School, where only 60 per cent of students were able to attend school as of March 31, according to RVS, as well as 75 per cent of staff.
“Our thoughts are with our students, staff and families impacted by COVID-19,” read RVS’ statement. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school and wish those who are sick a quick recovery back to health.”
With regard to area municipalities, eight schools in Airdrie, four schools in Cochrane and three schools in Chestermere were reporting positive COVID-19 cases as of March 31, according to the government’s data. Bow Valley High School in Cochrane was reporting an outbreak of 10 or more cases as of March 31, while Cochrane High School confirmed an outbreak of five to nine cases.
Out east, an outbreak of 10 or more cases at Chestermere High School meant 30 per cent of students and about 15 per cent of staff were self-isolating as of March 31, according to RVS.
In Airdrie, A.E. Bowers Elementary School was reporting the most active COVID-19 cases among schools as of March 31, with an outbreak of 10 or more cases. Northcott Prairie School had the second-most cases among Airdrie's schools, with an outbreak of five to nine active cases.
The trend of rising cases in schools was not limited to Rocky View County and area communities last month. Province-wide, cases were identified in 365 schools as of March 31, according to government data. In Alberta, youth aged five to 19 comprised roughly 22 percent of active cases in the province as of March 30.