‘Both Alberta Education and the POC are confident that masks, sanitizer, thermometers and face shields will be distributed to school divisions prior to the resumption of classes’
The Alberta government has placed orders for 1.7 million masks worth a total of $4.2 million which will be used for when schools reopen in the fall, according to Adriana LaGrange, minister of education.
The masks will be delivered by Alberta-based company IFR and Old Navy. LaGrange noted that the Provincial Operations Centre has directly approached experienced, established vendors to fulfil personal protective equipment (PPE) needs for school re-openings.
“When the school re-entry plan was announced on June 10 and a decision on how students would return to school was announced on July 21, it was indicated that the decision on masks in schools was still pending, as Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw was still considering emerging scientific evidence from other jurisdictions,” said LaGrange. “Despite this pending decision, Alberta Education, in conjunction with the Provincial Operations Centre (POC), began preparing for the contingency should Dr. Hinshaw decide to recommend masking in schools.”
The minister also said that Alberta has excelled at the urgent need to purchase PPE in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The province has also distributed a total of 40 million masks through its corporate and community partners.
“Both Alberta Education and the POC are confident that masks, sanitizer, thermometers and face shields will be distributed to school divisions prior to the resumption of classes. Students, schools and staff will receive their PPE for the beginning of the school year,” said LaGrange.
Recently, the province announced that mask use for Grade 4 to 12 students, and all school staff, will be mandatory when school returns for the 2020-21 year as the province continues to combat COVID-19.