NJ Macpherson informs parents of possible COVID-19 outbreak and explains next steps

In anticipation of the NJ Macpherson School being declared a COVID-19 outbreak site by Northwest Territories public health officials, the Acting Principal sent a letter to parents explaining what this meant.

Randy Caines wrote in an email to parents that the school and aftercare programs will operate “as usual” but that staff will be diligent in keeping all COVID-19 protocols in place.

The email included two letters, one explaining what an outbreak is and a school outbreak fact sheet that details next steps.

“While ‘outbreak’ may seem like an intimidating word, it simply means that two or more people have developed COVID-19 over a 14-day period and one transmission,” the letter reads.

“Both cases likely occurred inside the school or during school activities. This does not necessarily mean that there is a high number of infections or transmission.”

Caines said he released the note to parents to explain the situation and avoid any panic or confusion before public health announced the outbreak.

Several schools have declared COVID-19 outbreak sites

He explained in the email that other schools have also declared outbreaks, but a process is in place to ensure in-person learning can continue.

“I am happy to let you know that we are doing things right at our school; sending door-to-door notices, having students and staff tested, recording information on positive cases, providing this information to public health and monitoring our covid[19] protocols,” he wrote.

Several other schools in the territory have been declared outbreak sites, according to the territorial government’s public exposure website.

These include Weledeh Catholic School and St. Joseph’s School in Yellowknife, Joseph Burr Tyrrell Elementary School in Fort Smith, Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk, and École Boréale and from Diamond Jenness High School in Hay River.

Last spring, NJ MacPherson was the site of what was at the time the largest outbreak the Northwest Territories had faced during the pandemic.

There have been 71 confirmed cases linked to the NJ Macpherson school outbreak in the spring of 2021. None have been hospitalized.

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