At the November 24th meeting of the Edmonton Public School Board, I will be introducing the following motion and requesting a Notice of Motion so that it can be debated and actioned immediately. I welcome your feedback into the motion and if there are suggested amendments or more specific steps you would like to see included:
In order to assist with contact tracing, reduce in-school transmission, keep schools open, and avoid another lockdown, that the board write a letter to the Premier requesting:
1) stricter community health measures and
2) immediate access to the federal contact tracer app, "COVID Alert
Directives to work from home for anyone who is able.
Limiting contacts to those within the household or support bubble.
Restrictions on group recreation/sports activities.
Suspension of group indoor activities (including indoor dining, bars, casinos, religious services, and theatres).
Due to their vital importance, we should aim to keep schools open for in-person learning options.
I’ve been hearing from students, staff, and families that the anxiety around delays in a notification, combined with the workload burdens for staff in terms of contact tracing and a significant source of added stress.
There have been major functionality and accuracy concerns (as recently as November 15th, 2020)
with the Alberta-created app, that do not exist with the federal app. Accessing the App is a zero dollar ask from the school board and would help us save staff time and costs. Even for those who don’t believe that an App will benefit us, it will cost Alberta nothing financially,
and there is no downside to making the federal app available immediately, especially for staff and students in high schools where no funding has been provided to help reduce class sizes.
I have heard in many cases it is days until schools are notified by AHS and now Principals are spending staff time making phone calls to all of the affected families. As you can imagine, this is a significant additional workload in addition to supporting the teaching and learning in our schools during a very stressful pandemic.
I acknowledge the difficulty of implementing wider community health measures, but these measures are critical in order to protect the ability of students to access education.