Maple Creek Composite School closed on Tuesday after confirmation of several COVID-19 cases in the community.
Classes moved to remote learning on Wednesday. Students will return to school on Monday, April 26, unless Public Health advises otherwise.
“This is being done as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff, in addition to supporting the efforts of Public Health,” said John Campbell, MCCS principal, in a letter to parents and guardians.
The spate of cases in Maple Creek prompted others also to take action:
• The Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre will be closed until the end of April amid concern for the safety of its volunteers, the public and trades people working on infrastructure projects, which includes repairing the roof;
• The Salvation Army Thrift Store will be closed until 9am on April 27;
• The Salvation Army’s in-person church services on the next two Sundays (April 18 and 25) will be moved online. Food services, however, will not be affected;
• A & B Hardware has closed until further consultation with the health department after reports of staff “coming in contact with COVID-19”; and
• Town Councillors did not gather in the Council chamber for Tuesday’s meeting. Instead, the meeting was streamed live to Facebook, with councillors appearing via zoom. Only Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor, and Gary Schlageter, Chief Administrative Officer, were in the chamber. This precaution was taken as part of the Town’s pandemic plan in the face of a COVID-19 upsurge.
Meanwhile, the Government of Saskatchewan has brought in a Public Health Order change, limiting household bubbles to immediate households only. No guests or other gatherings allowed.
The new Public Health Order will also include limits of worship gathering sizes to allow no more than 30 people effective 12:01 on Friday, April 16.
These measures will be in effect until April 26, when they will be reviewed.
On Tuesday, Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor of Maple Creek, delivered an update on COVID-19, thanking the high school for taking swift action to protect students, parents, families and the broader community.
McKenzie said the Saskatchewan Health Authority had not notified the Town of Maple Creek about a COVID-19 outbreak in the community.
“At this time the community of Maple Creek is not designated as an area of concern,” she said.
See mayor McKenzie’s full statement in a separate story.
According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the declaration of a COVID-19 outbreak is primarily used by Public Health to coordinate a response to infection. It is not necessarily an indicator of risk to the public.
The definition of an outbreak varies by setting. For example, in acute healthcare facilities, long-term care homes and personal care homes, an outbreak is declared when one person (a patient, resident or healthcare worker) tests positive for COVID-19. In the community, an outbreak is declared when two or more individuals test positive and where transmission likely occurred during an event or from the same exposure in the community during a specified time period.
When an outbreak is declared and there is a risk to the public, a public health advisory is issued. All advisories are located on the Government of Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 website. here.
In his letter to parents/guardians, Campbell said Public Health had informed the school of several cases of COVID-19, including some connected to MCCS.
“Public Health are contacting individuals who may have been in close contact with the cases and providing direction. If you do not hear from them, your child has likely not been exposed because of the measures that are in place.”
Campbell said the school works closely with Public Health staff to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect all students.
“We remind everyone entering schools to monitor for any signs of symptoms of COVID-19. Refer to the Daily Self-Assessment Checklist. Please complete this before attending school each day.”
Campbell said any parent or student with symptoms of COVID-19 should call HealthLine at 811 and remain at home. If medical attention is required, call ahead to a health care provider. If it is an emergency, call 911.