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Chinook's Edge School Division plans to have masks for all staff

Officials waiting on today's announcement for further clarification on students
SUN Kurt Sacher
Kurt Sacher, Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent, said the school division is waiting to hear if the province will institute mask mandates. File photo

INNISFAIL – Chinook’s Edge School Division plans to have non-medical facemasks available for all teachers and staff when classes reopen in September, says superintendent Kurt Sacher.

Whether masks will be required for students, teachers and staff remains to be seen, with school officials awaiting word from the province, he said.

“We already ordered masks for teachers and staff, and we are still waiting for clarity from the government,” said Sacher. “We are anticipating that the chief medical officer of health will still have more to say on the topic of masks.

Alberta’s education minister and chief medical officer of health will provide an update on public health measures being taken for a safe return to school this morning (Aug. 4).

The division is seeking clarification on which grade levels, if any, would require masks, he said.

“There are pediatricians who are concerned about developmentally what that (mask wearing) does for some of the younger students. From a functional point of view, how is that going to work?”

Asked if masks will be available for all teachers and staff, he said yes.

The division is still examining whether masks will be needed or required for bus drivers and students riding on school buses, he said.

The division plans to release its re-entry plan within the next few weeks, he said.

Meanwhile, the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division, which includes schools in Olds and Innisfail, says it will be sending a survey to parents asking whether they plan to send their kids to school for in-person classes or choose an online learning option.

"The feedback will help us develop a learning plan on how best to support (students) moving forward," said spokeperson Haleigh Sanderson, noting the division is still working on its relaunch plan.