(Pixabay)

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Alberta announced Tuesday (Aug. 4) that masks would be required in schools when they reopen in the fall, even as B.C. schools are set to open with no such mandate.

British Columbia’s closest neighbour is mandating masks for students starting in Grade 4 and for all school staff. Students will be required to wear them in all shared and common space, including hallways and on buses.

Students and staff in all schools across Alberta will receive two reusable masks from the provincial government, leading to a total of 1.6 million masks being distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Single-use masks will also be made available.

Students younger than Grade 4 and those who cannot wear one for medical reasons will not be required to wear masks.

“Since cancelling in-person classes in March and developing our school re-entry plan, we have been clear that we would continue to adapt our guidelines as necessary based on current medical advice,” said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange . “These new safety measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, and we will continue to work with our school authorities to ensure they are equipped for a successful start to the school year.”

Alberta unveiled a plan to return to “near-normal daily operations” on July 21, although authorities must remain ready to move between three scenarios outline in the school re-entry plan. The province currently has more than 10,800 cases, with 196 deaths and 1,386 cases currently active. B.C. has recorded 3,641 total cases, with 195 deaths and 278 cases currently active.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September, divided into “learning groups” of 60 to 120 students to aid in contact tracing. Students and staff will have access to masks, but they will remain optional.

However, in a recent poll, 62 per cent of Canadians think that children should be required to wear masks, either all the time at school, on school buses, or only outside of class during recess, lunch, and on school buses).

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she was “confident” that B.C’s return-to-school plan would keep children safe.

Henry said she sees “a place” for masks in schools, particularly when adults cannot keep two metres distance from each other, but that the province has “no intention” in making masks mandatory for students.

READ MORE: B.C. to roll out ‘learning groups’ as part of COVID-19 back-to-school plan


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AlbertaCoronavirusSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read