September 8, 2021 - Masking will remain strongly recommended in Parkland School Division following a Special Board Meeting called by the Board of Trustees. The Board defeated a motion by a vote of 4 - 3 to reimplement the 2020-2021 Parkland School Division Mask Protocol, amended to include K-12 students.
The 2021 PSD Mask Protocol remains in effect, which states:
Masks are required for all students (regardless of age or grade) and staff while on a school bus.
Masks are strongly recommended for all students (age appropriate) and staff in all common areas and in situations where 2 meters distance cannot be maintained and/or extended periods of time in close proximity.
Masks will also be required for all visitors while they are in school common areas such as hallways, the school office, cafeterias, etc.
Parkland School Division’s COVID-19 Measures survey remains open until the end of the day on Thursday, September 9, 2021. The PSD COVID-19 measures are subject to change based on new or updated recommendations or requirements. These come from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Government of Alberta.
“After much reflection and deliberation, the board narrowly defeated this motion because in the end, it was decided that making medical decisions beyond the provincial direction and health measures created by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) are beyond the scope and field of expertise of a school board trustee.” - Board Chair Lorraine Stewart
At this time, we refer to the statement issued by the CMOH on August 13, 2021:
“The safety and well-being of our children is what all of us want most. While there is no perfect solution to the very challenging problem COVID-19 presents, what I can tell you is I have studied the issue, examined the research and looked at our own data here in Alberta. I considered both evidence of COVID infection risks as well as the impacts that restrictions have had over the past 18 months on the mental health, learning and social interaction of our children.
As your Chief Medical Officer of Health, and as a parent of children in school myself, I believe the provincial approach we are taking balances the many competing risks our children face, and moves to a sustainable framework that can also protect kids from other risks such as influenza and other viruses. We cannot eliminate COVID-19, which means we must all learn to live with it, including our schools.” - Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health
With the absence of the medical data that the CMOH used to establish the current guidelines, which state schools are not required to mask, it would be a difficult decision to implement further measures. Additionally, without Alberta Health Services notifying school divisions as to the number of school-aged children in our region who have tested positive for COVID-19, we have no ability to collect the evidence or data to determine the required local perspective and context in order to make a decision, as a Board, to implement additional measures.
“We regret that local school boards have been placed in a position to make decisions in pandemic response that should ultimately fall to provincial leaders informed by our health authorities.” - Board Chair Stewart
For further information, contact:
Parkland School Division
Board of Trustees