ATA asking for enhanced health ensures with the increased rapid spread of the Delta variant

CALGARY — The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) says there are still question marks around student safety as the new school year approaches.

With the majority of students not vaccinated, the ATA says a provincial mask mandate is needed, something the province does not plan on bringing back.

“Given how we are seeing how the Delta (variant) has a much more significant spread factor and Alberta has seen a 1000 plus new cases in each of the last three days, I think that those concerns are getting pretty ramped up with the start of school right around the corner,” said Jonathan Teghtmeyer, a spokesperson for the ATA.

Teghtmeyer believes the province needs to add more supports for teachers and students when the doors swing open in the coming days.

“They want to make sure there is additional supports for things like mental health, learning recovery and the ability to provide more one on one attention as well,” Teghtmeyer said.

“The last year was very challenging and teachers would like to make sure that they can do everything in their power to support students in the year ahead, and the last thing we want is a repeat of last year.”

The ATA says COVID-19 infections could spread drastically through schools, if safety measures are not improved.

“Waiting until 200 kids in a large city high school are actively infected at the same time is just a recipe for disaster,” said Teghtmeyer.

Since the pandemic began, 197 people between the ages of five and 19 have contracted COVID-19 and ended up requiring hospital care. Thirty-six were admitted to the ICU. There have been no reported deaths.

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