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'This is asinine': Alberta teachers' union responds to province not mandating masks in schools

A file photo of a student wearing a mask in a classroom. (CREDIT: Alexandra_Koch, Pixabay)

CALGARY — The head of the union that represents Alberta teachers is furious after the province exempted schools from the provincewide mask mandate announced Friday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced that beginning on Saturday masks would be made mandatory at all indoor public places, but schools were not on the list.

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The Alberta Teachers’ Association President, Jason Schilling, says having tightly gathered groups of 30-plus unvaccinated, unmasked people will continue “with the blessing of government.”

“Alberta’s elementary students are crammed into inadequately ventilated spaces, and the government is shirking its responsibility to offer the bare minimum protection for those who cannot be vaccinated and their families.”

“This is asinine.”

Schilling says the government lacks the courage required to do the right thing and is leaving it up to the school boards to clean up the mess and take the blame.

“In fact, government MLAs and other officials have inflamed tensions recently by suggesting publicly that school board masking mandates run contrary to Dr. [Deena] Hinshaw’s advice. This is not helpful.”

Schilling says an immediate adjustment must be announced and mandatory masking and contact tracing for students in elementary classrooms must be implemented.