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“The more cases we have, the more ripple effects there are,” she said.
“Students who test positive are impacting all of their classmates, all of their teachers, and everyone in their families. All of those people now have to miss school or work for at least two weeks.
“That is a lot of disruption, not just to education and learning, but also to the economy.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, noted Thursday that 13 schools in Alberta that previously had alerts have had no transmission for two weeks and students and staff are back in class.
Hinshaw confirmed there are active alerts or outbreaks in 97 Alberta schools with 163 active cases, representing about four per cent of schools in the province.
And there are 32 school outbreaks, seven of which have had transmission within school, and four are in the “watch” category with five or more cases.
But Hinshaw stressed that since schools opened three weeks ago, cases in school-aged children have seen a week-over-week decrease, and are down from the peak in April.
“Our highest number of cases in this age group was in April, at the time of our peak, when we had 216 cases of 2,257 people tested.
“But since school started, we’ve seen a week over week decrease from 205, to 183, to 122 cases per week in school-aged children. And this is in spite of a significant increase in testing with over 11,000, 18,000 and 14,000 children tested in those weeks.
“I want to highlight these numbers not to minimize the importance of school safety,” Hinshaw added, “but to highlight the importance of minimizing community transmission to make school re-entry successful.”