No Mandatory Masks In Schools
Sign the petition against mandatory masks in schools:
In recent days, we have seen school boards across Alberta – including Calgary, Edmonton, and Medicine Hat - announce that they will be implementing mandatory masks for all students, teachers, and staff for the upcoming school year.
Some have even announced they will be requiring children as young as 5 to wear masks, something that wasn't even required at the peak of the pandemic last year!
This is all despite a mask mandate *not* being part of the official advice to Alberta schools from Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
That's right, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, recommends that staff caring for an ill student, or a student feeling sick and waiting to go home should wear a mask, but does not recommend mandating masks for all students.
While acknowledging that, at least under current rules, school boards are permitted to implement mandates, she did not actually recommend they do so.
She also expressed concern about severe harm to children's social and emotional outcomes and urged that any requirements balance off both the potential benefits and the potential costs.
We agree with Deena Hinshaw's conclusion and call on government decision-makers to consider the significant detrimental effects that mandatory masking has upon students as they develop and learn.
The early years of education are critical to building language, pronunciation, and phonological skills.
This is especially true for children working on overcoming speech delays or expressive and receptive language disabilities and for ESL students learning English.
Masks impede many of the facial cues and expressions that students rely on to build these skills.
It's simply not acceptable that these school authorities are making far-reaching decisions regarding the use of face masks without regard for the actual scientific evidence and expert advice.
As parents and teachers, we call on Alberta's school boards to avoid repeating last year's mistakes and reject mask mandates.
Additionally, in those school districts where an announcement has already been made, we call on those districts to reverse their decision.
Finally, should school districts refuse to do so, we call on the provincial government to override the school boards' decisions, and require them to follow the scientific evidence and expert advice.