Alberta’s Premier Daniel Smith has announced that he will no longer allow masks to be mandatory for students in the state’s school system, citing the harmful effects masking has on children.
“The detrimental effects of masking on children’s mental health, development and education in the classroom are well understood and we, along with parents and teachers, recognize that this has been a very difficult time for children. You have to turn the page,” Smith wrote. statement Released on October 29th.
“Our government will not allow further masking orders for children in Alberta’s K-12 education system.”
Smith’s statement was in response to the King’s Bench Alberta Court dominate announced three days ago that the previous state government’s order last winter to lift mask requirements for schools was “unreasonable.”
She also instructed the Justice Minister to evaluate the court’s ruling and urged other government officials to remain “vigilant” about changes that undermine the government’s powers on the issue.
“I have instructed the Minister of Justice to assess whether an appeal against Thursday’s King’s Bench Court ruling is appropriate,” Smith said in a statement.
“[I] Warn me to the Ministers of Justice, Health and Education of the Government of any legislative or regulatory changes necessary to reaffirm or clarify the Government’s full authority in this and other health and education matters. I instructed ”
Judge Grant Dunlop ruled on Oct. 26 that the government of former Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenny acted irrationally when it ordered the removal of mask-wearing requirements for children in schools in February. did. Dunlop argued that public health law requires that decisions be made by a chief medical officer (CMOH) or an authorized representative, rather than an elected official.
The court reconsidered the order after the families of five immunocompromised children requested judicial review along with the teachers’ union, the Alberta Labor Federation (AFL).
In his ruling, Dunlop Judge also confirmed Feb.8 letter Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, has had problems communicating government orders to school authorities.
“School authorities cannot deny a student direct education because of a personal decision to wear or not wear a mask at school,” writes LaGrange. education law.
“Effective Monday, February 14, 2022, CMOH 22-2021’s masking requirements will be removed and, therefore, there will be no masking requirements for students in schools and school buses,” LaGrange’s letter said, adding that as of that date, ” School boards are not authorized by state health orders or recommendations from the CMOH to require students to wear masks.
Judge Dunlop said that the Education Act, particularly Section 51(2), gives the Minister of Education the power to limit the powers of school boards, but this must be done through regulations. However, LaGrange’s letter was “not a regulation” and actually caused “widespread misunderstanding”.
After the government of Alberta abolished mask requirements for school students in February, Removal of mask requirements All over the prefecture on June 14th.
Marnie Cathcart contributed to this report.