By Stan Ashbee
According to a recent media release, the Alberta Teachers’ Association President Jason Schilling has issued the following statement in response to the decision to exempt schools from a province-wide masking mandate.
“Tightly gathered indoor groups of 30-plus unvaccinated, unmasked people will continue to occur with the blessing of government,” Schilling noted.
“Alberta’s elementary students are crammed into inadequately ventilated spaces, and the government is shirking its responsibility to offer the bare minimum protection for those who cannot be vaccinated and their families.
According to Schilling, the government is recommending all unvaccinated persons limit indoor social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and requiring all vaccinated persons to mask in public spaces, yet schools remain exempted.
“This is asinine.”
“The government lacks the courage required to do the right thing and is leaving school boards to clean up the mess and take the blame. In fact, government MLAs and other officials have inflamed tensions recently by suggesting publicly school board masking mandates run contrary to Dr. Hinshaw’s advice. This is not helpful,” added Schilling.
An immediate adjustment must be announced to take effect across the province, Schilling stated.
“Mandatory masking in all schools and a return of contact tracing for students in elementary classrooms must be implemented.”
It was pointed out in the media release, the Alberta Teachers’ Association has released a nine-point plan for ensuring schools remain safe for the entire 2021/22 school year.
“Priority Expectations of Alberta Teachers for the Return to School During the COVID-19 Pandemic” calls for masking, contact tracing, ventilation improvements, information transparency and a focus on supporting student mental health.