The Red Deer public school board sent a letter of frustration and concern to the Education Minister and a local MLA over the province’s lack of direction over mask-wearing rules for students.
Following a special board meeting on Monday to review enhanced health restrictions related to COVID-19, Red Deer Public Schools board of trustees sent a letter to Red Deer North MLA and Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange and Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan.
The open letter questions why province-wide restrictions require mask wearing in all public places, but do not apply to schools. Instead, school boards must continue setting COVID-19 management policies “as they deem appropriate,” which is fuelling community divisions.
“Schools are very public places. We cannot understand why they were not included within restrictions for public places, particularly given the increased risks facing those under 12 years of age. Please share the rationale for this,” wrote board chair Nicole Buchanan.
“Why are school boards making health decisions?”
The board unanimously decided to make the Government of Alberta aware of its concerns and frustrations on the decision-making process imposed on school divisions “and the lack of leadership by the government related to mask use and other COVID-19 health restrictions within schools…
“In this situation, your government abdicated what was rightfully within the purview of government and public health, laying it on the feet of school boards. In doing so, you have further caused and increased division and frustrations in communities across Alberta which is having a negative impact on the teaching and learning of students, who have already been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The letter concludes that health decisions are “best left with you…. True leadership is about bringing people together under the most challenging circumstances. It’s about making decisions with people, not for people. It takes leadership done with purpose and intention. Now more than ever, we need that kind of leadership,” states the letter signed by Buchanan.