Red Deer Public School District

Mandatory masks for back to school

Return to school update responsive to concerns

A common province-wide approach to masks as well as financial support for personal protective equipment is welcome news to Red Deer Public Schools.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provided new directives for back-to-school protocols earlier today. The measures will include a requirement for all staff and students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear face masks in congregated spaces. Kindergarten to Grade 3 students will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.

Dr. Hinshaw indicated that these requirements align with the most recent evidence on best practices to minimize the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province also announced providing funds for face masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers, and face shields. While Red Deer Public Schools planned to fully stock these items, we were concerned about the significant costs. Today's announcement helps to ease those concerns.

“Today's update was important. We've been hearing concerns from parents wanting to ensure their children will be safe at school. Without these measures, there was uncertainty with some families on returning to school," said Nicole Buchanan, Board Chair. "Our administration team has been working diligently on our playbook as to how we will best meet the health and safety needs of students and staff. We want to assure families that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone well.”

Red Deer Public Schools will be sending information to families this Friday. It will include details on our return to school plan as well as ask families their intentions for the upcoming school year.

"Our plan is evolving and is flexible to best meet the needs of our schools," said Chad Erickson Superintendent of Schools. "The more consistency we have across our schools and in the province, the greater confidence families can have that we are best addressing the needs."

Classes for Red Deer Public Schools resume on Tuesday, September 1, where we look forward to welcoming students back to the classroom after being away for five months.