With students in the district and across the province set to return to classes early next month, parents and caregivers are counting on the provincial government to ensure that everyone in the school community is kept safe and sound during the new school term.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic still underway, and with hundreds of positive cases in Alberta continuing to be identified daily, the stakes for students, teachers and staff couldn’t be higher.
Whether the Kenney government decision to allow classes to resume without in-school masking requirements in place will prove a prudent move or a big mistake remains to be seen.
For his part, Premier Kenney has said he believes that putting aside masks in schools is a reasonable step.
However, not everyone thinks the government is making the right move. For example, the Alberta Medical Association’s Section of Pediatrics sent a letter to Premier Kenney expressing their grave concern regarding Alberta’s plan to eliminate COVID-19 testing in the community, contact tracing and mandatory isolation this month.
“The removal of monitoring measures, combined with the recent removal of public health restrictions such as the mask mandate, will further accelerate the spread of the Delta variant – which is already growing exponentially in Alberta,” said Dr. Michelle Bailey, president of the AMA’s Section of Pediatrics.
Chinook’s Edge School Division superintendent Kurt Sacher says the division is counting on Alberta Health to provide guidance when it comes to keeping students, teachers and staff safe from COVID.
“We really rely on Alberta Health to do their due diligence when it comes to looking at the research,” Sacher told The Albertan. “We do rely on that expertise moving forward.”
As parents prepare to send their kids back to school in a couple weeks, the community-at-large is hoping that the UCP government is making the right move in not requiring masks in schools.
If it turns out to be the wrong move, the consequences will certainly be very bad news for Alberta.
Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan