(Pixabay)

(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

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Mainly clear and sunny skies are expected for the Okanagan-Shuswap region this week. (Maxpixels photo)
Warm, sunny week ahead in Okanagan-Shuswap

Daytime highs will reach the low 20s with mainly clear skies this week

Royal LePage Arena was an addition to West Kelowna championed by Len Novakowski. (File photo)
West Kelowna community leader Novakowski dies

Former Westside regional district director Len Novakowski dies after lengthy health battle

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

A car sheared a Hydro pole and the driver was pinned by a fence pole on 43rd Avenue Saturday, April 10. (Carmen Jaster photo)
Suspected impaired driver ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash in Vernon yard

Impaired driving investigation underway after driver shears Hydro pole and narrowly misses being impaled

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

Construction has begun on Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, with lengthy closures on the way. (Claire Palmer photo)
Construction has begun on Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, with lengthy closures planned for the next four weeks. (Claire Palmer photo)
24-hour Trans-Canada closures begin east of Golden

It’s the final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon construction project, which is realigning and widneing the higwya

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra performed Exsultate, a live-streamed all-Mozart concert, on April 10. (Contributed)
REVIEW: Okanagan Symphony Orchestra exalts in Mozart

Live-streamed, all-Mozart concert was held on April 10

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Most Read