In a letter sent to school superintendents across Alberta yesterday (and then forwarded to all teachers), Education Minister Adriana LaGrange explains that the government has been working hard to increase testing capacity and turn-around times.
I recently became aware that the test result turnaround times in Alberta are already supposedly down to two to three days. Friends of mine decided to get the whole family tested because one of their kids became ill with Covid-19 like symptoms. (Still waiting until tomorrow to hear back).
LaGrange also suggests that all teachers should be tested for the novel corona virus before returning to in-person learning this fall.
Her complete letter after the jump.
Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services have been working hard to expand COVID-19 testing capacity and reduce turnaround times for results, including for teachers and all school authority staff, so that anyone with symptoms or close contacts of cases can be tested and receive results promptly.
I am pleased to advise that progress is being made to further expand Alberta’s testing capacity, and information about additional options for testing will be shared soon. And as another measure to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Alberta is recommending that all teachers and staff in the Early Childhood Services to Grade 12 education system participate in asymptomatic testing prior to the start of the 2020/21 school year. In addition, sufficient capacity will be in place for regular testing of teachers and staff throughout the fall. Although testing for COVID-19 is voluntary, I am recommending that teachers and staff take advantage of this opportunity and arrange testing as soon as possible.
Teachers and staff are encouraged to book a test through Alberta Health Services using the online self-assessment tool or contact a local participating community pharmacy.
Test results will be shared with the individual as soon as possible after the test is taken. We recommend that teachers and school staff start arranging their tests soon to ensure that results are available to them before the start of the school year.
This asymptomatic testing program is one more way to provide confidence that our schools will be a safe environment for all. It is important to keep in mind that this program is in addition to existing public health measures such as daily screening for symptoms, handwashing, physical distancing and the use of non-medical masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
I would appreciate if you could inform your school authority staff of this expanded testing opportunity within the next few days so that they have sufficient time to consider and make the necessary arrangements to participate.
Parents can continue to access testing for their children through Alberta Health Services. Testing is only recommended for those children with symptoms or pre-existing medical conditions that have symptoms similar to COVID-19.
I appreciate all of the significant work you have undertaken to prepare for the safe re-entry of all of our students and staff.
Minister of Education