Airdrie teachers, parents protest Alberta's back-to-school plan

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Airdrie parents, teachers and children rallied Wednesday evening outside the offices of Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt to speak out against provincial back-to-school plans.

Cali Dillon, who is heading into Grade 12, said she doesn't know if she'll head back into the classroom as she is immunocompromised.

"My concern is that there are going to be plenty of people sick, and it's just going to spike again," Dillon said. "At this point, I'm choosing between my education as a high school student and a soon-to-be-university student, and my health."

When Alberta students head back into K-12 classrooms this fall, they will be required to wear masks, but some parent advocates have said such measures don't go far enough.

Airdrie parent and teacher Heather Racz agrees.

"The reality is, in our classrooms, that's not going to be possible. So as a teacher, as a parent, I'm very concerned about whether or not we can safely go back to school," Racz said.

"So the biggest thing for us, is ideally the government goes and limits class sizes."

Hala Ghonaim/CBC
Hala Ghonaim/CBC

Holly Dillon, Cali's mother, echoed those concerns.

"They can't distance in a classroom. My daughter has had 40 children in her classroom last year," Holly said. "You can't have it distanced."

Alberta placed two orders for 1.7 million masks, valued at a total of $4.2 million, with Old Navy and IFR Workwear. Ninety per cent of those masks will be made by Old Navy.

Speaking Wednesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said all Alberta teachers and school staff should be tested for COVID-19 before schools reopen.