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Masks required for Calgary Board of Education students on the modified calendar

Students and staff on the Calgary Board of Education’s modified calendar will be required to continue masking when they return to school next week.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, Calgary Board of Education Chief Superintendent Christopher Usih said they expect to receive an update from Alberta Education soon on provincial COVID-19 health measures for schools.

Usih said the CBE would review those guidelines when they’re presented.

This comes as Alberta posted 501 COVID-19 cases on Aug. 10. There are 138 people in hospital and 31 in the ICU.  Alberta is set to lift most of the remaining public health restrictions Aug. 16.

When students and staff head back to school Aug. 17, they will be required to wear masks. Students riding the yellow buses must also wear masks, according to the letter sent to families.

Other public health measures will also remain place, such as: hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning, enhanced ventilation, class cohorts in K-6 and no visitors or volunteers allowed in schools.

Schools won’t be required to notify close contacts, but changes may be made as the situation evolves, or if there’s a serious outbreak the note read.

Lockers and change rooms will be used, and band and sports will resume. Some off-site activities will also be allowed.

While this is for the modified calendar students only, it’s unclear at this time if those rules will be in place for the start of the regular public school calendar.  An online petition has been signed by just over 1,000 people encouraging the CBE to require public health measures stay in place.

“We all play a role in ensuring that our return to school is as safe as possible,” Usih wrote in the letter to parents.

“As the school year begins, we will be monitoring the situation closely and following the direction of health authorities to ensure that we are doing everything possible to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and workplaces.”

Students on the traditional calendar will go back to classes on Sept. 1.