INNISFAIL - About one-third of Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) shools were reporting absentee rates of about 10 per cent on Friday, according to Shawn Russell, associate superintendent of corporate services.
“I don’t have hard numbers but approximately a third of our schools are (reporting) in and around 10 per cent absence rates due to illness,” said Russell. “Once we pass that 10 per cent rate due to illness those schools would contact Alberta Health Services and they would get advice from there.
“To my knowledge we currently have three schools that have been, over the last week or two, put on outbreak status, but two of them have now been removed from that.”
The 11,000-student, Innisfail-headquartered CESD has 42 schools.
The division does not know what particular illnesses the students who are absent may be experiencing, he said.
“We have no way of knowing that,” he said. “And we don’t ask. It could be a cold, it could be the flu, it could be any illness.”
Asked if one-third of schools reporting 10 per cent absentee rates is typical for the division at this time of year, he said, “Every November, this time of year, we would see an increase in those cold and flu (types of illnesses).
“This year I don’t think it’s any secret that there’s colds, there’s respiratory virus, there’s COVID out there. There are a number of viruses out there in the community and what’s happening in schools is really a reflection of what is happening in the community.”
The division continues to offer hand sanitizers to students and staff.
“We encourage and ask people to stay home if they are sick,” he said. “We encourage proper hygiene in terms of washing your hands. The big thing is, if you are sick stay home.”
The absenteeism rate at the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools was not immediately know at press time Monday.