(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

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Snow covers Main Street in downtown Penticton Monday morning, Jan. 25, 2021.
First snowfall of 2021

Chances of light snow all week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Two Kelowna flights flagged for COVID-19 onboard

The flights were on Jan. 14 and 18

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Most Read