Canada

Alberta Bans Mandatory Masking In Schools, Guarantees In-Person Learning

Edmonton – The Alberta government has said school boards cannot require students to wear masks at school or force them to take classes online.

The release says the government has made regulatory changes to ensure students have access to in-person learning.

The change also states that students cannot be denied in-person education by school authorities because of their personal decision to wear or not wear a mask.

Last week, the Edmonton Public School Board asked Alberta Health and Alberta Education if schools would require masks as they deal with a wave of viral illness.

Prime Minister Daniel Smith said the changes will take effect immediately and create an inclusive environment by ensuring that individual and family choices are respected.

Smith is critical of mask rules in schools, saying they are negatively impacting students’ mental health, development and education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Parents and students have told me many times they want a normal school environment for their children,” Smith said in a release Thursday. We have taken steps to strengthen it.

“Families are free to make their own health decisions. Whatever that decision is, it is supported by Alberta’s education system.”

The government said the face-to-face learning changes apply to grades 1-12 in all school settings, including public, separate, French-speaking, public charter, and independent schools.

Masking changes apply to early childhood education services as well as same grades and schools.

NDP education commentator Sarah Hoffman said the changes show the government doesn’t know what’s going on in Alberta’s schools.

“We are aware of the widespread respiratory illness epidemic this fall, causing intense stress and difficulty for our students, staff and families,” Hoffman said in a release.

“School districts are struggling to staff classrooms as the disease spreads among students and employees.”

Hoffman said it’s unrealistic to expect school districts to be able to arrange in-person and online classes at the same time without additional resources.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 24, 2022.

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Alberta Bans Mandatory Masking In Schools, Guarantees In-Person Learning

Source link Alberta Bans Mandatory Masking In Schools, Guarantees In-Person Learning

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