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Debates regarding personal safety versus privacy arise during COVID-19

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – As more schools report COVID-19 cases, the debate over where the line should be drawn between personal safety and privacy is heating up.

Some parents are concerned they aren’t getting what they need to make informed decisions, while others say this is no different from any other disease when it comes to confidentiality.

Wing Li, Communications Director for Support Our Students Alberta, says she’s hearing concerns from student’s parents.

“The current reporting from the government is inadequate, it’s inconsistent from region to region and it’s inconsistent from school to school.”

She says parents are sharing concerns about how fast information is released and the lack of information like names, classrooms, dates, and times.

“Obviously I don’t think it should be broadcast, with names and down to the minute, but in these individual conversations, I think it’s valid that parents want to know down to the day and the morning or afternoon that the last encounter of someone that tested positive, that’s actually normal and I don’t see how that couldn’t be done on a one to one basis.”

However, Lorian Hardcastle, Associate Professor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law and Cumming School of Medicine says medical privacy is still the same as any other medical situation.

“Generally speaking, where you can use de-identified information, you’re to disclose that de-identified information over information with identifying details.”

She says medical privacy is still the same as any other medical situation.

“Even pre-COVID, public health officials were doing this in the context of whooping cough, and measles and other infectious diseases that may have affected schools and it is a balance that has to be struck between privacy and providing enough information and I think something like giving the child’s name isn’t necessary in order to achieve that goal of public health.”

-With files from CityNews