Aug. 27, 2020
The Chief Medical Officer of Health, with Alberta Education, made the decision to make masks mandatory for all Alberta students in Grades 4-12. CBE has exceeded current direction provided by AHS and Alberta Education by requiring non-medical masks be worn by all students in kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as all staff members.
Mask guidelines are now available and provide details about mask use in our schools and workplaces, including information about the times and locations masks must be worn, when mask breaks can occur and who may be exempted from wearing masks.
- Masks will not be necessary for students in K-3 when they are working within their cohort (group) of students in their classroom and when the integrity of cohort can be maintained.
- For Grades 4-12, masks will not be needed when students are seated within their cohort(s) and physical distancing is achieved.
- When staff are working with students with special needs where wearing a face covering would impact learning, a mask can be removed.
- Teachers will also build in time during the day to take breaks. Masks will not need to be worn during recess, physical activity or when eating or drinking.
- During breaks, it will be important to follow other precautionary measures like physical distancing and hand hygiene.
Wearing masks is new for all of us. As we would with any other learning, we will assess each student’s level of understanding and provide them with the teaching, guidance, coaching and encouragement at an age appropriate level, to ensure safety for themselves and their school community.
The consistent message from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, AHS, and other national and global health professionals is that the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility and that masks are one measure to mitigate that spread. Additionally, the City of Calgary has mandated masks in all public spaces for anyone over the age of two. The CBE’s decision to extend mask requirements to K-3 aligns with direction from the city, province, and global health professionals to reduce risks related to exposure to COVID-19 in CBE schools.
The CBE is working with AHS to mitigate risks to the greatest extent possible, while knowing we cannot eliminate them entirely. We continue to rely on the advice and direction of the medical experts related to COVID-19 prevention measures. The CBE’s approach will continue to adapt to COVID-19 including any new directions or advice provided by Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services.
For more information about masks please visit our website.