Premier Danielle Smith rules out mask mandates despite widespread school illness – CBC

‘I think it’s important that we not cause an overreaction or a state of panic,’ Smith says

Nov 14, 2022

Thousands of Alberta children are home from school with respiratory illnesses, but Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says a school mask mandate is not on the table, and she plans to prevent school boards from invoking them.

“Health decisions are the purview of the health minister with advice from who he needs to seek advice from,” Smith said at an unrelated news conference in Sherwood Park on Monday.

“I’ve been talking with the justice minister about that, that we retain the full authority to be offering that advice at the provincial level.”

Alberta schools have seen absences of more than 10 per cent of the student population, with more than 20,000 public school students sick in Edmonton last Wednesday alone. Alberta’s two children’s hospitals are overwhelmed by the high number of respiratory cases.

On Monday, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health “strongly” recommended indoor masking to relieve intense pressure on the province’s health care system.

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