CALGARY — It’s a blurry video that last only about two seconds, but Tiffany Smith says it was enough for her to see how crowded her daughter’s high school is during a break.
“There’s no social distancing, masks aren’t being worn properly. It’s chaos,” said Smith.
It’s a glimpse into northwest Calgary’s St. Francis High School and Smith says it’s concerning to see people not following the rules and a lack of enforcement.
“By allowing this to happen, I feel that they’re not only jeopardizing the health and safety of their students, they’re jeopardizing the health and safety of the community,” Smith said.
In a statement, the Calgary Catholic School District says it does what it can to educate its members on the importance of following public health guidelines.
“All of our schools, including St. Francis are working closely with their students and staff and reminding them to follow our 5 Key Health Measures including: daily health checks, handwashing, sanitizing, wearing a mask and keeping the space where possible,” the statement reads.
10,000 CALGARY STUDENTS IN ISOLATION
Positive COVID-19 cases identified in schools have a large ripple effect.
More than 10,000 Calgary students are currently in isolation due to coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Hundreds of staff are also quarantined at home.
“The rollercoaster that the government has asked students and education workers to ride through COVID because they refuse to provide adequate resources to improve schools’ defences has resulted in a lot of disruption,” said Medeana Moussa with the group Support Our Students.
The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) says almost 7,250 students and 360 staff are in isolation. This month alone, 302 cases of COVID-19 have been identified at CBE schools.
The Catholic board has been informed of 96 active cases across 43 schools. Currently 3,046 students and 257 staff members are quarantining after being identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
School groups say they are hearing more from parents who are concerned about variant strains being found in Alberta schools, too.
“Now we have the variants at play and those disruptions, I think people understand, are set to increase,” Moussa said.
Alberta Health says 178 variant cases have been recorded at 103 schools across the province. Of those, 28 have been in-school transmission.