Calgary students walk out to protest removal of mandatory masking
Other students stayed in school but said they’d keep their masks on
Alberta students are no longer required to wear masks at school, prompting some students across the province to walk out of classrooms on Monday to protest the change.
This included Nelson Mandela High School in northeast Calgary. Grade 11 student William Devine organized a walkout Monday that had about 100 people attend.
Speaking to The Homestretch, Devine said he'd like to see more solidarity with school boards and other students across the province.
"Students need to fight for their rights, and they need to fight for their safety," Devine said.
"We need to show people that this is important, and it will directly impact us and it will directly impact our families and [frontline workers]."
Last week, Premier Jason Kenney said students in schools are no longer required to wear face coverings, and said the province would lift all pandemic restrictions in the coming weeks if COVID-19 indicators remain stable or trend downward.
- WATCH: Calgary students react to first day of lifted school mask mandate
In Edmonton, dozens of students walked out of their classrooms to protest the government's decision.
The organizer of a gathering at Alberta legislature, 17-year-old Samuel Clark, said they are disturbed that people seem more concerned about the cloth on their face than protecting their peers and teachers.
Some students at northwest James Fowler High School — which did not have a walkout — told CBC News they will continue to wear a mask, at least for the time being, while others feel it's the right time for the mandate to be lifted.
Tavia Lepowick, who is in Grade 11, said she's going to keep wearing her mask because she wants to protect her family.
She's also concerned the removal of masks could mean students in her classroom gets sick with COVID, prompting a return to online learning.
"It's a bit odd to go into it, but I think that we do need it after two years," said Mikhail Wadman, a Grade 11 student.
Wadman said he thinks it's time to transition back.
He said it will be nice to not have to wear a mask, but added he will wear one if infections rise again.
With files from the Canadian Press, The Homestretch, Colleen Underwood