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Masks, testing, vaccination campaigns: ATA calls for COVID-19 measures in schools ahead of Sept.

Personal protection equipment is seen on the teacher's desk in classroom in preparation for the new school year at the Willingdon Elementary School in Montreal, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

EDMONTON – The Alberta Teachers’ Association is releasing a list of recommended COVID-19 health measures it says should be put in place ahead of the 2021 school year.

The report has nine main suggestions, including keeping mask mandates and distancing rules to protect kids who haven’t been vaccinated and making sure online learning is still available for those who cannot come into class.

It also calls for a mass rapid testing and vaccination program in schools.


ATA president Jason Schilling says teachers are concerned about welcoming kids back to class as the province plans to get rid of the last few pandemic protocols still in effect.

“All elementary students and half of secondary students remain unvaccinated. This is an incredibly large group of children left vulnerable, especially with the number of variant cases rapidly growing in Alberta,” he said.

“The government’s elimination of routine testing, tracing, and isolation protocols will leave students, parents, and staff working blind to the exposure risk that could exist in classrooms. Clear and transparent information on the status of this virus in our community is a cornerstone of our ability to protect students.”


The report also calls for a greater pool of substitute teachers to be established so there is staff ready to support classrooms should a teacher need to isolate.

The ATA wants the government to implement its recommended COVID-19 measures province-wide.

For more information on COVID-19 and back to school, head to our special coverage page.