Taking Action on COVID (November 2020)

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”.
Stricter community health measures and access to the Federal COVID Alert App could help reduce stress and strain, not only on our schools but our health care system in general. Many public health experts (and I quote from their letter at the bottom of the linked article) are advocating for the Government of Alberta to institute a set of time-limited public health restrictions that would consist of:
  • 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. 

COVID cases are only climbing and in the majority of cases, the source of transmission still remains unknown. Voluntary measures are not working. Stricter community health measures are needed as well as providing Albertans access to the functional COVID Alert app may be one more tool to help keep everyone safe and avoid a lockdown. The app lets people report a COVID diagnosis in eight provinces and, if it’s downloaded on your phone, also notifies you of possible exposure.
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.
I welcome your feedback: [email protected]

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  • Kim Drake
    commented 2020-11-22 08:50:17 -0700
    Michael I applaud your resolve on this motion, agreed the provincial app is flawed as with anything Kenny and the conservatives have had a hand in. I think ccess to the Federal app and any other mesures should be made available to Albertans
  • Jessica Holt
    commented 2020-11-15 19:20:12 -0700
    This is great, Michael. Community transmission is showing up in our schools now and that’s scary as a parent. I support this motion whole-heartedly.
  • Michael Janz
    published this page in Blog 2020-11-15 17:16:28 -0700



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