To mask or not to mask?
It’s the question grating Calgary parents, educators and administrators as children return to in-person learning in September amid a fourth COVID 19 surge fuelled by the Delta variant.
There are strong views on both sides of the debate. It reflects the broader clash between those who want a strong role for governments to defeat the virus, and those who worry about the erosion of individual rights and freedoms.
Some feel masking should be mandatory for all children to contain the spread of the virus in schools, at least until vaccines are authorized for children under 12.
Others believe that children are too active to be forced to wear masks. A petition started last year on change.org against masking in Calgary schools has collected nearly 17,000 signatures.
The provincial government is leaving it up to school boards to decide which health measures are best suited to fight the pandemic in their communities.
The Calgary Board of Education announced on August 18, 2021 that masks will be mandatory in public schools. The Catholic School Board is still deliberating.
The mayoral candidate’s stance on masks is varied. While candidates like Jyoti Gondek call for a return of mandatory masking, Brad Field defers to the schools: “This decision properly belongs to the school board trustees. Voters elect their school board trustees specifically to make these decisions, and the trustees are accountable to their electorate. It would be inappropriate (perhaps even undemocratic) for Mayors or City Councillors to second guess the decisions that trustees are elected to make.”
How do you feel about mask mandates?
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