Alberta Education has made students wearing masks a mandatory, an additional health measure to the school re-entry plan in September.
“We were prepared for this possibility and grateful this decision has been shared now so our families, students and staff have a chance to process how this might affect their upcoming school days,” noted Superintendent Brenda MacDonald.
“Clearview Public Schools had already purchased hand sanitizer, thermometers and face shields in our planning for the 20-2021 school year but we are grateful for the additional supplies to be purchased by the Alberta Government.”
The statement also noted that the announcement is a direct result of expert medical advice and, “We expect guidelines for school re-entry will continue to evolve to ensure they reflect the most up-to-date medical advice.”
Important points from the announcement:
– Mandatory mask use for students in Grades 4 to 12. All staff and all students will receive two reusable masks from Alberta’s government.
– 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.
– Mask use will be mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
– Students will be required to wear masks in 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.
“School staff will receive one reusable face shield for use in the schools from the Alberta Government and Clearview has already pre-purchased face shields that will also be available. 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.”
About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will also be distributed between all Alberta school divisions.
The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population. Clearview has also pre-purchased hand sanitizer in preparation for the 20-2021 school year.
The statement goes on to explain that, “Each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health which will be in addition to thermometers Clearview has already purchased in our school re-entry planning. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.
“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 s/tudents, 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.
Clearview will then distribute to individual schools, staff and/or students based on the needs of their own communities.
“Currently our offices are closed but our Central Services staff and principals are monitoring the fluidity of the school re-entry plan. We expect that there will be more guidance and changes in the weeks ahead to ensure the best possible health measures are in place for our students, staff and our communities.
“Clearview Public Schools would like to thank everyone who is helping to meet these changes head-on and help our students safely return to school.”