UPDATE:

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is apologizing for any anxiety or confusion a weekend order may have caused relating to distancing and masking in schools.

The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health says the timing of the order wasn’t meant to hide information but to be transparent with schools before it came into effect Monday.

Hinshaw says the order officially sets out an exception to the mandatory masking requirements  but the guidelines have been online for weeks.

She says students will not be required to distance two-metres or wear masks when seated during instruction as long as their desks are as far apart as possible and don’t face each other.

Mask use remains mandatory for staff and teachers in all settings outside seated classroom instruction where physical distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained and students will be required to wear masks in all shared and common areas including hallways and on the bus.

Hinshaw says going forward, she will try to only post new orders Monday through Thursday and will share via social media when they have been posted.

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Students heading back to school across Alberta will now be exempt from the two-metre physical distancing rule.

The province’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw signed off on an order over the weekend which states students will not be required to distance as long as their desks as far apart as possible or those desks don’t face each other.

The order says “an operator of a school does not need to ensure that students, staff members and visitors are able to maintain a minimum of two metres distance from every other person when a student, staff member or visitor is seated at a desk or table.”

You can read the entire order here: CMOH Order 33-2020

The Alberta Teachers Association though isn’t very happy with the last minute change.

ATA President, Jason Schilling went to Twitter on Sunday to say he’s “stunned by this reversal” by Hinshaw saying “this goes against everything they’ve been told for months.”

Alberta students head back to school this week for the first time in over 5 months.