ATHABASCA – Following last night’s announcement of the lifting of COVID-related restrictions by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, students in Aspen View Public Schools will no longer be required to wear masks at school or on the bus.
A Feb. 9 e-mail to parents and guardians from Supt. Neil O’Shea advised that as of Feb. 14, the change will take effect, but “students who wish to wear masks are welcome to do so, and we will continue to foster learning environments that support all students, whether they choose to wear a mask or not.
A letter from Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to school boards throughout the province noted some the changes that will take place on Monday.
As of February 14, 2022, “school boards will not be empowered by provincial health order or recommendations from the CMOH to require ECS - Grade 12 students to be masked to attend school in person or to ride a school bus. At this time, prevention measures including cohorting, as well as enhanced cleaning and sanitization, will remain in school environments.”
Masks will still be required by adults entering the school —teachers, administrators, educational assistants, visitors, volunteers, bus drivers, and in the future, spectators at sporting events,” said O’Shea’s e-mail, reiterating the points in LaGrange’s letter.
“At this time, the direction of the Government of Alberta is that all adults in our buildings, as well as school bus drivers, are still required to wear masks.
The school division expects to provide more information on when sports spectators will be allowed back in schools in the coming weeks. In the meantime, other public health measures remain, and students will still be cohorted as much as possible and sanitizing and cleaning protocols will continue.
AVPS also encourages families to remain vigilant and respectful of the measures still in place and continues to advise students and parents to complete the Alberta Health Daily Checklist; keep students at home when they are unwell; and to continue to isolate after testing positive for COVID.
Aspen View also advises it has received another shipment of medical-grade masks and rapid test kits and each school will share information with its families regarding their distribution.
Said LaGrange: “School authorities cannot deny their students access to in person education due to their personal decision to wear or not to wear a mask in schools. Individual family choices need to be respected and students should not be stigmatized for their choice related to masking going forward, similarly to their personal vaccination status.”