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Alberta

Masks to be mandatory in Alberta schools – Update on back to school plan

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School, classroom, students, teacher

From the Province of Alberta

School health measures now include mandatory masks

As part of a number of new school safety measures to combat COVID-19, mask use for Grade 4 to 12 students, and all school staff, will be mandatory when school returns for the 2020-21 year.

While mandatory mask use is for students in Grades 4 to 12 and all staff, all students and staff in public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent schools will receive two reusable masks from Alberta’s government. More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.

Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be required to wear them in all shared and common areas such as hallways and on buses. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs.

Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. Mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.

“The safety of our staff and students continues to be my number 1 priority. 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. 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.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

“After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am not making this updated recommendation lightly, but acting on the best current evidence available. While masks are important, I want to stress that they are only one of the many public health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff and families.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta

“CASS’ board of directors appreciates the government’s commitment to adapting Alberta’s health guidelines as new medical information becomes available and for ensuring school divisions are receiving the protective equipment they need for a successful transition back to school. This announcement clearly demonstrates Alberta Education’s willingness to take the necessary steps to support the safety of staff and students. We appreciate their continued collaboration and support as we approach the beginning of a new school year.”

Bevan Daverne, president, College of Alberta School Superintendents

Alberta’s government remains committed to adjusting the school re-entry guidelines based on current medical advice. The chief medical officer of health has been studying the evidence around masking in schools, and this decision is a direct result of evolving medical advice.

Face shields

School staff will receive one reusable face shield for their use in the schools. Shield use is at the discretion of the individual staff member. Plastic face shields can help reduce exposure but are not equivalent to masks. A mask must still be worn while wearing a face shield.

Hand sanitizer

About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.

Thermometers

Each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.

Staff testing

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services are working hard to expand testing capacity and reduce turnaround times for testing, including in-school staff, teachers and students, so that anyone with symptoms or close contacts of cases can be rapidly tested and receive test results promptly.

All supplies will be distributed to school authorities by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Authorities will then distribute to individual schools, staff and/or students based on the needs of their own communities.

Provincial health guidance for a safe return to school will continue to evolve as necessary to reflect the latest evidence on the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individual school authorities are developing return-to-school plans that meet the needs of their own communities. These plans are based on direction provided under the provincial school re-entry plan, and supporting health guidance documents.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government announced students and staff would return to school under scenario 1 – near-normal daily operations with health measures – on July 21.
  • School authorities are required to be prepared to move between the three scenarios outlined in the provincial school re-entry plan. Changes to scenarios will be determined by Alberta Education.

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Alberta

Plucky Stars, leading Lightning confident going into Game 6

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EDMONTON — After a very un-Dallas Stars-like first overtime period in which they sat back and let the Tampa Bay Lightning take it to them, players and coaches in the locker room had a very distinct message.

“We’ve got to play to win, let’s go at them, let’s get back on our toes and get skating again,” coach Rick Bowness said. “We found our legs. We found our second wind.”

And it’s their second win of the Stanley Cup Final to force a Game 6 Monday night that these teams see very differently. The plucky Stars are embracing the underdog role missing several key players to injury and feel as if they’re playing with house money, while the deep, talented Lightning still feel like the favourites up 3-2 in the series and are confident based on recent experience they’ll be able to close the series out in their next opportunity.

Dallas was doubted against Calgary, Colorado and Vegas, and the injuries still make it an uphill climb to beat Tampa Bay two more times in a row. Shots are 175-136 in favour of the Lightning and goaltender Anton Khudobin has had to come up big in his team’s two wins this series, but being counted out is just how the Stars like it.

“Every person really this whole time we’ve been in the bubble seeming to choose the other team we’re playing — we relish that,” said centre Tyler Seguin, who has five points in the past two games after a five-game drought. “We believe in each other. We’ve got a confident group, and we don’t want to leave the bubble, so we’re having fun.”

That’s what made the first OT so troubling for the Stars, who put the Lightning on their heels to take Game 1. Suddenly, the same team that buzzed and attacked until Joe Pavelski tied it in the third period Saturday night was playing not to lose when one goal against would end the season.

The attacking mentality returned, leading to Corey Perry’s goal in double overtime, and the Stars get one more shot to prove they belong here. Of course, they’re taking an us-against-the world outside the bubble approach.

“We just battle,” said Perry, who along with Pavelski has three goals in two games. “It doesn’t matter. We believe in that dressing room. We came here with 51 people, and all of those guys in that dressing room believe that we could go out and get this done. That’s all that really matters.”

All that matters to the Lightning is they’re still in control of the series. Only they can win the Cup on Monday night, and they believe playing the same way as Game 5 will be enough to finish this off and celebrate.

“That’s what playoffs are about,” forward Yanni Gourde said Sunday. “You’re not going to win every elimination game. You just got to go out there and play our best, try to win that particular game and go from there.”

They’ll have to do it without injured captain Steven Stamkos, who’s out for the rest of the series. Coach Jon Cooper and Stamkos made that determination in a conversation Sunday morning, though it was growing obvious that his post-season would be limited to 2:37 of ice time and a memorable goal in Game 3 of the Final.

“He did everything he could to get back, and he did get back and unfortunately he couldn’t go any further,” Cooper said. “Hopefully the next time you see him on the ice is during a trophy presentation.”

Cooper said multiple times his team has been “pretty good at responding after losses.” Not just pretty good but perfect.

Led by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s ability to bounce back like the Vezina Trophy finalist he is, Tampa Bay is 6-0 after a loss this post-season. Vasilevskiy has a 1.41 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in those games.

So, that’s a source of confidence along with the experience earned along the way in previous playoffs and even as recently as last round. The Lightning lost their first chance to wrap up the Eastern Conference final, to the New York Islanders in overtime of Game 5.

Facing a similar situation in the Cup Final, they’re prepared.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” top defenceman Victor Hedman said. “We’re a resilient group. We know how to respond to adversity. We were up 3-1, now it’s 3-2, so you just got to go out and get the next one. That’s our focus.”

And the next one comes against an opponent seemingly on its last legs. Dipping now four deep into their players from their taxi squad of “Black Aces” with forwads Joel Kiviranta, Nick Caamano and Justin Dowling and defenceman Joel Hanley feeds the Stars’ underdog mentality but depletes their depth.

“I give them a lot of credit because we’re missing a lot of key guys on our hockey club,” Bowness said. “There’s no question about it.”

There’s no question Dallas is hurting.

With forwards Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz and Blake Comeau and defenceman Stephen Johns already out, veteran Andrej Sekera was injured blocking a shot early in Game 5 and missed a period and a half before returning. Jason Dickinson is hobbling through as best he can after blocking a shot with each foot in this series, and the Stars are trying to gut through it all and force Game 7.

“Every guy’s going through something this time of the year,” Seguin said. “Everyone’s ready to get tapped in. That’s just how our identity’s been and how we’ve been all this bubble, so it’s been great.”

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press

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Alberta

Dallas Stars stay alive in Stanley Cup final, beat Tampa Bay 3-2 in double OT

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EDMONTON — Corey Perry scored on a goalmouth scramble in double overtime and the Dallas Stars beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on Saturday to stay alive in the Stanley Cup final.

Perry jammed the puck past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at the 9:23 mark for his second goal of the game.

Tampa Bay still leads the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 goes Monday night at Rogers Place.

Joe Pavelski also scored for Dallas. Goalie Anton Khudobin made 39 saves for his 14th win of the playoffs, just 20 hours after he faced 35 shots in a Game 4 loss to the Lightning.

Ondrej Palat, with his 11th goal of the post-season, and Mikhail Sergachev replied for Tampa Bay.

Vasilevskiy, also coming off a quick turnaround after Tampa’s Game 4 overtime win, stopped 30 shots but took the loss and is now 17-7 in the post-season.

Dallas opened and finished the scoring.

Perry made it 1-0 late in the first period, taking advantage when Sergachev was winded in a collision with Alexander Radulov.

Sergachev was doubled over and couldn’t get off the ice, and Perry scooped up a loose puck in the slot and wristed it over Vasilevskiy’s blocker-side shoulder.

Palat tied it less than five minutes into the second period, taking a dish pass from Nikita Kucherov, swooping around Dallas defender Esa Lindell, cutting across the front of the net and slipping the puck past Khudobin.

The Lightning took the lead early in the third when Sergachev fired a slapshot through traffic past Khudobin. Pavelski replied, scoring his 13th playoff goal with less than seven minutes to go, burying the rebound off a Miro Heiskanen point shot.

The Stars won despite mounting injury woes.

Justin Dowling played in his first playoff game for Roope Hintz, who fell awkwardly into the boards in Game 4. The Stars were also without Radek Faksa and Blake Comeau, making it three of their key two-way forwards and penalty killers.

The Lightning were again without captain Steven Stamkos. Stamkos, dealing with a lower-body injury, has played just five shifts in the entire playoffs: a 2:47 stretch of Game 3, although he scored in his one shot on net.

All games are being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place. Players are also isolated between games to prevent contracting the coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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