Calgary public school students able to remove masks in situations within cohorts, CBE says
Mask guidelines released as students prepare for return to school next week
With the first week of classes rapidly approaching, the Calgary Board of Education has released its mask guidelines that dictate where and when masks must be worn in schools.
In Calgary's public system, mask use is required for all students in kindergarten to Grade 12. However, masks will not be necessary for students in kindergarten to Grade 3 when they are working within their cohort while it can be maintained.
Students from Grade 4 to 12 will not be required to wear masks when seated within cohorts, the CBE said, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Other situations where masks are not required include:
- When staff are working with students who have special needs whose learning would be hampered by wearing a mask.
- During recess, physical activity or while eating or drinking.
- Other exemptions identified in AHS guidelines and those granted by a school's principal.
Students and staff within CBE schools are being organized into smaller groups called cohorts, which remain together throughout the school day. The CBE said cohorts are formed where possible and depend on the physical space available.
"Attending school and working during a pandemic is new to all of us," said Christopher Usih, the CBE's chief superintendent of schools, in a release. "We ask for your patience and understanding as our schools implement new health measures and different ways of learning in school and at home.
"We will all need to work together to make this school year a success."
Across Alberta, mask use is required for staff and students from Grade 4 to Grade 12. In Calgary's public system and within the Catholic school system, mask use will be required for all students in kindergarten to Grade 12.
The Calgary Catholic School District says masks must be worn whenever two metres of physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Masks can be removed during recess breaks where distance is maintained, while eating or drinking, or when removing the mask is necessary to receive or provide service.
- YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: Don't worry if you missed your chance to ask questions in our Facebook Live on Wednesday with host Shannon Scott and guests Marilyn Dennis, chair of the board of trustees for the Calgary Board of Education, and Dr. Raj Bhardwaj, an urgent care doctor working in downtown Calgary. You can still hear their answers by clicking here.
Students will return to classes on Sept. 1, but some parents and advocates have raised their concerns around available space for physical distancing within classes.
Sixteen to 17 per cent of students — approximately 21,000 — have enrolled in online learning, according to the CBE.
Parents might have plenty of other questions about the return to school. For that, we've created this guide, which will be updated frequently in the coming weeks.
CBC News is also following four families navigating the return to school. Here's the first instalment: Getting ready for school.