‘An excessive amount of, too quick’: Edmonton Public board chair pissed off division was not consulted on COVID-19 modifications

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The top of the Edmonton Public Colleges board says the federal government’s determination to take away masking necessities in Alberta colleges was accomplished with none session, leaving some dad and mom with little to no possibility to change their children to on-line studying.

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In a letter to highschool authorities Tuesday, Schooling Minister Adriana LaGrange stated they are going to not have the authority to require college students be masked to attend college in individual or journey the varsity bus as of Feb. 14, as a part of the federal government’s plan to elevate COVID-19 restrictions across the province.

It comes after authorities spent earlier phases of the pandemic saying that it was as much as college boards to set guidelines mitigating COVID-19 dangers and weeks after medical masks and speedy assessments began arriving at colleges for college kids to make use of.

Edmonton Public College Board chairwoman Trisha Estabrooks stated Wednesday it doesn’t seem there’s a approach for the division to go towards the federal government’s determination. She stated regardless of a downward pattern in reported instances in colleges, the modifications are “an excessive amount of, too quick.”

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“Sadly, we now have to take heed to this directive and when you hear the frustration in my voice, it’s as a result of college boards weren’t consulted on this determination,” she stated.

“We weren’t requested for suggestions and I discover that extremely irritating, {that a} determination that has such far-reaching implications for college divisions, that there was no effort to succeed in out to us and to hunt our suggestions.”

Premier Jason Kenney has defended the choice to not require masks in colleges, saying that the province can’t “pressure children to pay the worth for illness that primarily impacts adults.”

“After two years, I feel as a society, we must always say sufficient already with COVID restrictions affecting the lives of children,” he informed the Shaye Ganam radio present Wednesday morning.

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“Youngsters have paid a disproportionate share of the burden for a illness which has a tiny menace to the well being of youngsters,” he stated.

Alberta Medical Affiliation president Dr. Michelle Warren stated Wednesday in an interview with Postmedia that she doesn’t suppose masks are damaging to kids. She stated children want to have the ability to socialize with their friends and there are each college students who don’t need to go to highschool in the event that they need to put on a masks, and college students who don’t really feel protected with out one.

“I feel we have to see one thing that I hope to see mirrored within the grownup world — and that’s respect and tolerance,” she stated.

“So simply since you don’t need to put on a masks doesn’t imply that you just shouldn’t put on a masks or you could’t put on a masks.”

Estabrooks stated the varsity board will encourage college students to put on masks and that the division nonetheless has the authority to maneuver particular person courses on-line if needed.

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The deadline for folks to resolve whether or not their children would spend the second half of the varsity yr studying in individual or on-line has handed and Estabrooks stated it could be “a logistical nightmare” to permit college students to change now.

“The timing is horrible in some methods, in that we supplied this selection for households, we gave households this expectation that we might have these protocols in place and now, as a consequence of elements past our management, we will not provide that.”

Edmonton Catholic College Board chairwoman Sandra Palazzo stated in an announcement Wednesday that the division is anticipating extra steerage from the federal government within the coming days.

“Edmonton Catholic Colleges will at all times assist college students who select to put on a masks in class. On the identical word, we are going to assist college students who select to not put on a masks,” she stated.

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In a electronic mail Wednesday LaGrange’s press secretary Katherine Stavropoulos didn’t reply a query about why college authorities weren’t consulted previous to the modifications however stated households can decide to put on masks primarily based on their particular person circumstance.

Alberta Lecturers’ Affiliation president Jason Schilling stated Wednesday that the federal government must be extra cautious and the affiliation must discuss to its attorneys about potential authorized motion.

He stated lecturers might make an occupational well being and security declare.

“They’ll take a look at their workspace, their school rooms, and say, ‘I don’t really feel protected right here,’ ” he stated.

Speak of a possible authorized motion drew criticism from each Kenney and Calgary-South East MLA Matt Jones.

“Virtually all Alberta lecturers are vaccinated. To disclaim their security is to disclaim the efficacy of vaccines at lowering extreme outcomes,” Jones stated.

— With recordsdata from Lisa Johnson

ajoannou@postmedia.com

twitter.com/ashleyjoannou

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