Questions About Symptoms and Spread of COVID-19

Q1: How will symptoms be monitored?

A: There will be a strict stay-at-home policy in place. All students, staff, and visitors will be asked to self-screen for symptoms every day using the Government of Alberta’s Screening Questionnaire. Anyone showing symptoms will not be allowed in the school. School staff will also be monitoring for symptoms in the classroom throughout the day.

Q2: What will happen if a student becomes symptomatic during the school day?

A: Administration will identify an area in the school for symptomatic students to isolate in until they are picked up by a parent, guardian, or emergency contact. Symptomatic students will need to wear a mask, even if in an isolated area waiting for pick-up. Symptomatic students must be tested for COVID-19.

Q3: How long will students need to isolate at home after becoming symptomatic?

A: If students have cold-like symptoms not related to a pre-existing health condition, or if they test positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for at least 10 days or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.

If a student tests negative for COVID-19 and has no known exposure to the virus, they must stay home until symptoms resolve. If they test negative and have had an exposure to the virus, they must quarantine for 14 days from the exposure date.

Q4: My child has a pre-existing condition, such as allergies, which gives them cold-like symptoms. How will this be handled at school?

A: Parents of children with pre-existing conditions should consult their doctor to make a decision about returning to school. Schools must keep records of children’s known pre-existing conditions; if a child develops symptoms that could be caused by either COVID-19 or by a known pre-existing condition, the child must be tested for COVID-19. 

If the child receives a negative test result, the symptoms will be considered their “baseline health status” and they will be allowed to attend school as long as their symptoms don’t get worse. Parents of children who have symptoms before the first day of school are encouraged to have their child tested as soon as possible in order to have a negative test result by the time school begins. 

Q5: My child is currently symptomatic from a pre-existing condition (such as allergies) and will be tested for COVID-19 before school starts. Do we also need a note from a doctor as confirmation of my child’s condition and symptoms?

A: You will not need to provide your school with a doctor’s note along with your child’s negative COVID-19 test result. However, you should arrange a time to speak with your school about your child’s pre-existing condition and the symptoms they frequently have as a result. These symptoms will be considered your child’s baseline health status and will be part of their record at school. This will help school staff monitor for situations where symptoms become worse.

Q6: What will happen if a teacher becomes symptomatic at school?

A: Teachers who become symptomatic at school will immediately put on a non-medical mask or face covering if they are not already wearing one and inform school Administration that they are feeling sick. The teacher will go home to self-isolate and arrange to be tested for COVID-19. Coverage will be arranged for the class, whether it’s by a substitute, Educational Assistant, or member of Administration. Regardless of the scenario or time of day, students will not be left unsupervised.

Q7: What will happen if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

Parents and guardians will be notified if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. In order to protect their privacy, the name(s) of the individual(s) who test positive will not be released. Public health officials will privately notify those who have been in close contact with the individual(s). It is likely that only those close contacts will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days. The Division will support students and staff who need to work or learn from home.

Q8: What strategies will be used when a student must learn from home because they are sick, self-isolating, or in quarantine?

A: Students who are sick, in isolation, or in quarantine will be supported by the Division in the same way students have been previously supported while at home with an injury or away from school on vacation. Teachers will provide students with work to be completed during their time at home. Completion of this work will be overseen by parents; instruction will not be teacher-led.

Q9: If a student becomes symptomatic and must self-isolate but their sibling does not have symptoms, is the student without symptoms required to stay home as well?

A: If a student’s sibling tests positive for COVID-19, that student will be considered a close contact of a confirmed case and must self-isolate for 14 days from their first known exposure date whether they show symptoms or not. As per public health guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, only close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are required to self-isolate at home. Siblings of students who are symptomatic and isolating/waiting for test results and are not showing symptoms themselves may still go to school. However, these students should avoid contact with their symptomatic sibling(s) even when inside their home.

Q10: Will a school close in the event of a positive case in a student or staff member?

A positive case will not automatically lead to a school closure. A public health team will work with the Division to quickly identify cases and close contacts of cases, determine what isolation measures may be needed, and provide follow-up recommendations.

Q11: What will be the response to an outbreak at school?

A: Any potential outbreaks of two or more cases will be handled on a case-by-case basis with direction and guidance from public health officials. An outbreak does not necessarily mean a school will close. Health officials will evaluate whether there is an increased risk to students and staff by considering factors such as case numbers within the community outside the school, the number of cases with unknown sources, and other specifics of the local area. Possible responses could include shifting a class to home learning for a period of time