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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

WHL Roundup: Corson Hopwo sends Rebels to 10th loss in a row

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MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — Corson Hopwo scored two power-play goals, and the Medicine Hat Tigers came from behind to beat the Red Deer Rebels 4-2 on Friday in Western Hockey League play. 

Brett Kemp and Eric Van Impe also scored to help Medicine Hat improve to 6-0-1 in its last seven games.

Garin Bjorklund made 23 saves for the Tigers (10-3-1).

Ben King had a pair of goals to put his team up 2-0, but the Rebels (2-13-2) gave up four unanswered for their 10th loss in a row and third straight since Brent Sutter stepped down as head coach.

Ethan Anders stopped 33-of-37 shots for Red Deer. 

SILVERTIPS 5 THUNDERBIRDS 3

KENT, Wash. — Gage Goncalves scored twice while also setting up both of Cole Fonstad’s goals for a four-point outing, and Evertt (10-3-0) topped Seattle (7-6-0) to avoid a third straight defeat.

ICE 5 BRONCOS 4

REGINA — Michael Milne’s second goal of the night stood as the winner and Owen Pederson had a goal and two assists as Winnipeg (13-5-0) dealt Swift Current (3-14-1) its seventh loss in a row. 

COUGARS 5 ROYALS 2

KELOWNA, B.C. — Taylor Gauthier kicked out 19-of-21 shots and was led by five different goal scorers including Jonny Hooker who put Prince George (4-3-2) ahead for good against Victoria (1-8-1), losers of five in a row.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canadian champ Kerri Einarson leads the way at Grand Slam of Curling event

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CALGARY — Reigning Canadian women’s champion Kerri Einarson is off to a 3-0 start at the Grand Slam of Curling’s Humpty’s Champions Cup.

The Manitoba rink beat Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa 8-2 in the second draw on Friday.

After six draws at the event, Einarson is the lone women’s rink at 3-0.

Manitoba’s Tracy Fleury and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead lead Pool B at 2-0.

Fleury edged Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones 7-6 on Friday morning, while Muirhead beat Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni 9-3.

On the men’s side, Canadian champ Brendan Bottcher of Alberta tops Pool B at 2-0. Bruce Mouat of Scotland leads Pool A at 2-0.

The event is the first of two Grand Slams at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre, which already has hosted the Canadian men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships as well as the men’s world championship.

The women’s world championship, with Einarson representing Canada, will close the Calgary curling bubble next month.

The Slam events feature 12 of the top men’s teams and 12 of the top women’s teams from around the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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