Students in Grades 4-12 will be required to wear masks at school, but can remove them in the classroom under certain conditions, say Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Red Deer Public Schools.
The school divisions announced changes to their re-entry plans Friday, two days after the Government of Alberta revealed new measures aimed at mitigating the transmission of COVID-19.
Students from Grade 4-12, and all staff, will be required to wear non-medical masks at school, in common areas and where distancing is not possible.
But these students will be able to remove them in the classroom if they are sitting in their desks while facing forward, spaced to the greatest extent possible and not interacting with other students.
“The health and safety of our students, staff members and community is the primary concern for the Board of Trustees at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools,” said Kim Pasula at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools board chair.
“We are confident that the adjustments to our school plans will help ensure that our children are well cared for and all in our community are kept safe.”
Masking at both divisions is optional for students in pre-kindergarten to Grade 3, but face coverings are still required on the school bus or public transportation.
“We recognize that some students have challenges with wearing a mask, and we want to work with our families. There are processes in place to apply for a mask exemption in accordance with Alberta Health Services’ CMOH Order 40-2021,” Red Deer Public Schools’ update health measures says.
“If your child is unable to wear a mask, we ask you to work with your school administration and follow the process for an exemption if you have not already done so.”
Masks will not be required for staff and students when outdoors and during physical activities for any student 18 years and younger.
Elementary schools must remain with their cohorts to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
School sports will continue with masking requirements in place for students who are off fields of play. All spectators and coaches will be required to wear a mask.
In addition, spectators of indoor activities will be at one-third capacity, seated within households, and physically distanced. Spectator numbers for outdoor physical activities are currently capped at 200.