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New COVID case reported at Richard Fowler school

50 people self-isolate
1909 FowlerCovid 1587 km
ONE CASE — AHS officials reported one case of COVID-19 in a student at Richard S. Fowler on Sept. 15, 2020. About 50 people are now in isolation as a result. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

About 50 Richard Fowler teachers and students will spend the next two weeks at home now that a student at the school has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Richard S. Fowler Catholic Junior High parents and students got word Sept. 16 that a student at the school had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The student in question was last at school on Sept. 10 and started feeling ill after school, said Greater St. Albert Catholic deputy superintendent Rhonda Nixon. The student self-isolated, got a COVID-19 test, and received news of the positive result on Sept. 15.

“The student is recovering at home and never had extreme symptoms,” Nixon said.

The student told school officials about the diagnosis on Sept. 15, and officials were in touch with Alberta Health Services that evening, Nixon said.

The next morning, the 50-odd staff and students in the student’s cohort group were told they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and stayed in their classroom until their parents arrived to pick them up, Nixon said.

“We found it very easy to do the contact tracing,” she said, as everyone the student could have been in contact with – including those on the student’s school bus – were all in the same cohort and classroom.

Once the room was cleared, janitorial staff moved in to do a deep clean of the classroom, Nixon said. Principal Danielle Karaki briefed students about the situation later that day, emphasizing the need to respect those in isolation.

The affected students are now learning online from home and can return to school as early as Sept. 25 (14 days after their last contact with the diagnosed student). Classes continue as normal for the other 300-odd students at Fowler.

Nixon reminded students in isolation to stay home and watch themselves for symptoms using the daily screening tool. AHS officials would arrange for them to get a COVID-19 test shortly.

Nixon said the whole process went very smoothly, noting the district had learned a lot from the case reported at Morinville Community High earlier this month.

AHS reported 20 active cases of COVID-19 in St. Albert as of Sept. 16.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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