Alberta: Premier Danielle Smith defends prohibition on school mask mandates
by The Canadian Parvasi
A day after Danielle Smith announced a ban on schools enforcing mask mandates and fully transitioning to online learning, the Alberta Premier doubled down on the provincial government’s decision.
“We need a normal school environment for our children, and we need to make sure that the classrooms stay open to be able to support our parents. That’s why we made the decision that we did — to give that clear direction,” asserted Smith, addressing a news conference.
Smith cited that a complete switch to online-only learning may have adverse effects on the mental health of students and parents, with parents having to worry about making childcare arrangements when schools shut down.
“Anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel that that is the right choice for them, but we should not be forcing parents to mask their kids, and we shouldn’t deny education to kids who turn up without a mask, ” she added.
Trisha Estabrooks, Board Chair for Edmonton Public Schools, welcomed the decision stating that it provided clarity.
“All Albertans now understand that it’s not within the jurisdiction, and nor should it ever have been within the jurisdiction of individual school boards, to make decisions that belong to health officials,” said Estabrooks.