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Alberta

Schools to offer on-site vaccination, August 16 measures extended to September 27

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Health guide, tool kit and on-site vaccination ensure safe school year ahead

New health guidance will ensure students’ safety and help school officials prepare for the new school year.

The Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools document will help schools to reduce respiratory illness and infection in schools. A back-to-school tool kitprovides information for parents and school staff on what to expect when students head to their classrooms.

Consistent with the extended timelines for easing COVID-19 measures, students and school staff should screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist, and must isolate if they test positive or have the core COVID-19 symptoms.  A detailed 2021-22 School Year Plan contains two contingency scenarios for continuing student learning if there is a significant change in the COVID-19 situation in the fall.

To further promote a safe school year, all eligible Albertans, including students, teaching staff, parents and guardians, are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated with both doses before the school year begins.

With these measures in place and climbing vaccination rates, students and parents can look forward to in-person classes, with no restrictions on in-person learning or extracurricular activities. However, masking will be required on school buses.

“Thanks to the power of vaccines, I’m pleased that students can return to a normal school year in September. The safety of students and staff remains our number one priority, and we have a detailed plan that includes contingency scenarios for continuing student learning if there is a significant change in the COVID-19 situation. We will continue to follow the expert advice of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health and are ready to make changes if needed.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

“Making sure Alberta’s schools are safe is one of our government’s top priorities. I am confident that this guidance will help keep students and staff safe, and our province’s children and youth can go on to thrive in the upcoming school year.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

Vaccines in schools

To increase accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines, immunizations will be available through temporary clinics in schools for students in grades 7 to 12 as well as teachers and staff. Starting on September 7 students, teachers and staff can receive whichever dose they are eligible for in school.

Parent or guardian consent for students will be required through consent forms.

Students in grades 7 to 12 do not need to wait for an in-school clinic to be vaccinated. Bookings for first and second doses are available provincewide. Albertans can book appointmentsthrough AHS online, by calling 811 or through participating pharmacies. First-dose walk-in clinics are available at multiple locations.

“Vaccines are the most important protective measure for students, teachers, parents and guardians as we prepare for back to school. I encourage parents and guardians to arrange vaccine appointments for themselves and their children as soon as possible. This will help further strengthen protection in schools and benefit all youth, whether or not they can be immunized yet.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health

AHS will continue to support schools to manage outbreaks of respiratory illnesses.

Alberta’s government has contingency scenarios to continue student learning if there is a significant change in the COVID-19 situation — similar to those implemented in the previous school year.

2021-22 school year plan and health guidance highlights

  • Students, families and school staff should continue to screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist and get tested if they are symptomatic.
  • The Guidance for Respiratory Illness Prevention and Management in Schools builds on public health practices used to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19, influenza and other infections in school settings.
  • Best practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses will continue, including:
    • Students and staff who have any new signs of illness should stay home and not attend school until they are feeling well.
      • If a student or staff member has any of the following core COVID-19 symptoms (new, or worsening and not related to other known causes), they are required to isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms, or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, as per provincial guidelines:
        • Fever
        • Cough
        • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
        • Loss of sense of smell or taste
        • Sore throat (adults only)
        • Runny nose (adults only)
    • Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces.
    • Promoting frequent hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette.
    • Schools are encouraged to have a plan for students and staff who develop symptoms to wait in a separate area until they can go home.
  • Masking is not provincially required in school settings for any age group, except on school buses.
    • AHS, through a zone Medical Officer of Health or their designate, may recommend masking to manage an outbreak and prevent more widespread transmission of a respiratory illness.
    • Zone Medical Officers of Health and their designates may also recommend additional measures if a school experiences a respiratory illness outbreak including screening for symptoms and cohorting.
  • School authorities have the ability and the corresponding accountability to put in place local measures, such as physical distancing, cohorting, and masking requirements, that may exceed provincial guidance.

Quick facts

  • As of August 12, 65 per cent of 12 to 14 year olds have received one dose in Alberta and 54 per cent are fully protected with two doses.
  • As of August 12, 67 per cent of 15 to 19 year olds have been partially vaccinated in Alberta with one dose and 56 per cent are fully protected with two doses.

Alberta

Kyle Connor scores twice, Winnipeg Jets snap five-game winless skid

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CALGARY — Kyle Connor scored twice including the game-winner at 15:09 of the third period on Saturday as the Jets snapped a five-game winless skid with a 4-2 comeback victory over the Calgary Flames.

Set up on a cross-ice pass from Blake Wheeler, Connor sent a one-timer into the top corner inside the near post before Jacob Markstrom could get across. Connor’s 14 goals ties him for fifth in the NHL.

Paul Stastny and Andrew Copp, into an empty net, also scored for Winnipeg (10-7-4), which salvaged the final game of its three-game road trip. Wheeler had two assists. The Jets return home to host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary (12-4-5), which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (5-1-2). The Flames wrap up a three-game homestand on Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After being pulled for surrendering four goals on 14 shots on Friday night in Minnesota, Connor Hellebuyck bounced back nicely for the Jets with a 34-save performance to improve to 7-5-4.

Markstrom had 24 stops to fall to 8-4-4.

The Jets had a great chance to take the lead when with the score tied 2-2 and under five minutes remaining in the second period. Milan Lucic was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for a heavy hit along the end boards that temporarily shook up Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo.

But Calgary continually bottled up the Jets and prevented them from being able to set up. With just over a minute remaining in that power play, the Flames drew a hooking penalty on Neal Pionk, which ended the extended five-on-four during which Winnipeg generated only two shots.

Down 2-0 early, Winnipeg cut into the deficit at 16:26 of the first when the Jets turned a stretch of sustained pressure into a goal with Connor knocking in a set-up from Wheeler.

The Jets tied it 2-2 at 4:50 of the second on a goal that left Flames goaltender Markstrom visibly upset, believing there was goaltender interference. With the puck in the crease, Stastny knocked both Markstrom’s pad and the puck into the net at the same time. Calgary did not challenge the call.

The Flames jumped out to an early lead with Tkachuk deflecting in Johnny Gaudreau’s centering pass 26 seconds into the game. It came on the Flames’ fourth shot as they immediately went on the attack from the drop of the puck.

It was the NHL-leading 17th time Calgary has scored first (12-2-3).

The Flames surged in front 2-0 at 7:42, needing just seven seconds against the NHL’s 30th-ranked penalty kill to convert with Lindholm poking the puck in.

Gaudreau also assisted on that goal. His two assists in the period extended his point streak to six games (five goals, five assists).

Lindholm’s goal extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, seven assists).

Notes: Calgary was a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and are now 26-for-27 over the last eight games. The Flames entered the night ranked third in the NHL on the PK… Winnipeg had been 0-3-0 on the back-end of back-to-back games… The Flames led the Western Conference standings after 20 games for the first time since 1993-94.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canada's Osborne-Paradis passes torch to young men's downhill team

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LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — The last Canadian skier to win a World Cup race in Lake Louise, Alta., said farewell to a course Saturday that produced both triumph and heartbreak for him.

Manuel Osborne-Paradis wore rodeo chaps over his jeans for his fun “retirement run” that the world governing body of skiing grants to ski racing’s stars on their home courses a few minutes before a race.

The 37-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., retired last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 edition of what is traditionally the season-opening World Cup men’s downhill, delaying the ritual.

Osborne-Paradis, a four-time Olympian, collected 11 career World Cup medals and world championship bronze in super-G during his 16 seasons racing for Canada.

He won super-G gold in Lake Louise in 2009. Osborne-Paradis was also the last Canadian to stand on the podium in the alpine team’s home race when he finished second in downhill in 2014.

His first World Cup medal was a downhill silver in Lake Louise in 2006.

Osborne-Paradis’s previous experience on the track before Saturday was disastrous, however, and ultimately career-ending. 

He shattered his tibia and fibula tumbling into the safety nets halfway down the first training run of the 2018-19 season. 

Osborne-Paradis began rehabilitating with the goal of racing in a fifth Olympic Games, but the Canadian didn’t race again.

The chance to ski the Louise track again in front of fans with a Canadian flag in his hands leaves a better last memory of it in his mind.

“The thing I didn’t think was going to be the most important thing, but it was, was going through the finish line one more time,” Osborne-Paradis said. “That was a good closing chapter.”

Osborne-Paradis’s retirement continues a winding down of the “Canadian Cowboys” era in which he, Erik Guay, Jan Hudec and John Kucera were constant threats for the international podium in men’s speed races. 

Ben Thomsen of Invermere. B.C. is the last active skier in that group. The 34-year-old finished 54th in Saturday’s race.

Montreal’s Guay, a two-time world champion, wore a double denim “Canadian tuxedo” for his retirement run at Louise in 2018.

Osborne-Paradis’s hellacious crash accelerated Guay’s retirement. Guay had intended to ski one more season, but called it quits two days after Osborne-Paradis’s wreck.

Osborne-Paradis, wife Lana and their young children Sloane and Toby live in Invermere. 

Osborne-Paradis’s family watched him wind his way down the course Saturday and occasionally stop to hug coaches and volunteers.

“I think having my kids here . . . my son never got to see me race and my daughter doesn’t remember,” Osborne-Paradis said. 

“FIS has been so nice to be able to let me do this at this point of retirement. To say thank you to the volunteers here is special.”

He’s already transitioned into coaching. Osborne-Paradis worked for a year to achieve his Canadian Ski Instructor’s Alliance Level 4 certification, which is the highest level of certification. 

Only seven per cent of applicants pass the final exams. Osborne, who says Dave Irwin in 1979 was the last national ski team member to achieve the certification, can teach all levels of skiing on all terrain and also train future instructors.

“It was tough,” Osborne-Paradis said. “It was a year-long process to get to the exam and then it’s a two-day exam. I definitely didn’t go into it thinking I was going to pass. 

“I wanted to be in the ski world. How can I be a part of it? There’s a massive ski community in Canada that the racing world is so disconnected from. How can I go from an alpine racer and further progress my ski career? It dawned on me that I could take this Level 4 instructing exam.”

Osborne-Paradis worked with Ontario’s under-16 women’s team during the week before his swan song.

He passes the racing torch to a young men’s downhill team that needs more seasoning to achieve the Canadian Cowboys’ heights. They’re coached by Kucera.

“They’re a good group. They’re paving their own way,” Osborne-Paradis said. “They have a connection with how we did it through Johnny. They just have to build their confidence and then they can do it.”

Toronto’s Jack Crawford was the top Canadian in 24th on Saturday ahead of teammate Brodie Seger of Whistler, B.C., in 31st.

Seger’s career on the national team overlapped with Osborne-Paradis when the former made his World Cup debut in 2017.

“Manny, I think he has a very unique take on a lot of things,” Seger said. “I can for sure take things way too seriously and overanalyze. Sometimes he just has some random comment that cuts through the bull like: ‘This is simple. Just be confident and just do this.’

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot from him in a way. Even through times where he was maybe struggling as a skier, I feel like he was doing a really good job handling himself as an athlete and being honest about how things were going.

“The way he marketed himself, he made it look super-fun and he’s just a genuine guy.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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