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Rocky View Schools drops mask mandate for 2021-22 school year


While many students in the city of Calgary will be required to wear masks in classrooms next month, the administrators of Alberta's fifth-largest school board have voted against the mandate.

The board of trustees of Rocky View Schools (RVS) said in a letter to parents that it approved its operational plan, a strategy that means students will not need to wear masks in schools this year.

However, any student or staff members who wishes to wear one will be supported in their decision. Masks are also still required on school buses, the board said.

"RVS continues to rely on the direction and guidance of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) to make decisions about health-related practices in schools. We encourage you to read the full RVS plan for more information as you prepare for September," wrote board chair Fiona Gilbert and superintendent Greg Luterbach in the letter to parents on Thursday.

They also said that students are no longer required to be cohorted and physical distancing will not be needed either.

"School events such as assemblies, graduations and team sports may resume," the letter continued. "Student use of lockers is permitted."

They also said close contacts of known cases of COVID-19 are no longer being required to self-isolate unless they exhibit symptoms of the virus or are told by Alberta Health Services to do so.


The decision comes after both the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Calgary Catholic School Division (CCSD) chose to continue a mask mandate for all students.

The CBE's chief superintendent of schools Christopher Usih called it "a prudent approach" for students and staff returning to in-person classes in September.

"We want our students to return," he said. "I want to do everything possible to ensure that their learning is not disrupted as a result of illness within our schools."

Meanwhile, the CCSD said the mask mandate for its students will be in place for at least the beginning of the year.

"The decision was made after considering the increase of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta and, particularly in Calgary, vaccination rates for youth aged 12 to 19 and the fact that younger students do not yet have a vaccine available to them," said a letter signed by chief superintendent Bryan Szumlas.

Students in Grades 4 to 12 will have to wear masks when physical distancing isn't possible.

All three school boards, RVS included, will require all students, staff and visitors to complete a daily health checklist before coming to school and make sure they stay home when they are feeling sick.

Anyone who begins to feel ill at school will be required to go home, RVS said, and there will be a continued emphasis on hand hygiene and "respiratory etiquette."

Enhancing cleaning protocols will also remain in place.


RVS also said it has developed two contingency plans for the upcoming school year, as required by the provincial government. Those include plans for continuing in-person classes with "enhanced health measures" and at-home learning, if necessary.

"We thank you for your ongoing support and flexibility as we continue to work together to keep our schools safe and positive learning environments. We look forward to welcoming students back to school in September and wish you and your family a successful 2021/22 school year!" Top Stories

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