Edmonton's public school board asks province to allow mask mandates during outbreaks

EDMONTON — Alberta's second largest school district is asking the provincial government for clarity on whether it can require masks when a school has a respiratory illness outbreak.

Edmonton Public Schools held a special board meeting today to discuss a wave of viral illnesses that is sending thousands of students home sick.

School officials say more than 150 of the 213 schools in the district have met or exceeded a 10 per cent threshold for outbreak status by Alberta Health Services.

AHS, the province's health-care provider, has declined to provide school outbreak information.

Premier Danielle Smith has been critical of mask rules in schools, saying they adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students.

But school board chairwoman Trisha Estabrooks says there are similar concerns when students miss school or worry about getting sick.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2022.

The Canadian Press