Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw detail Alberta's plans for school re-entry and mandatory masks.
"After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19", said Hinshaw.
Hinshaw said even if students aren't seated two metres apart in classrooms, they could take off their masks if they are all facing in the same direction and working alone at their desks.
"This is because mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance", LaGrange said at a news conference in Edmonton. "Additionally, current medical evidence indicates that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19".
Teachers, support staff, school staff and bus drivers will all get one reusable faceshield to be used at their discretion.
LaGrange adds that each student in Alberta, from Grades K-12, will be provided two reusuable masks by the government, which equals a total of more than 1.6 million masks to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. If students are taking their masks off and on for meals and recess, that also increases the frequency of them touching their faces - which people are supposed to avoid, she said.
Some teachers and parents have said it's not enough.
Public school board chair Trisha Estabrooks said numerous division's 215 schools are so full, the board felt masks were a must for crowded classrooms and hallways during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children will not have to wear masks when sitting in class at a safe distance from others.
Masks will be required in hallways, shared spaces where physical distancing is not possible.
Gray told CTV News he believes that is poor logic. The NDP has released its own proposed plan for reopening schools which includes a call to cap class sizes at 15 students. Students who fall ill or need to isolate will receive lesson bundles from their schools.
Family physician Dr. Raj Bhardwaj said he believes officials need to start thinking outside of the box. It will be hard to keep children apart in school, and masks could help contain spread of the virus, he said. "We need to think about things like ventilation or HEPA filters in spaces like cafeterias or gymnasiums, or really consider outdoor school a lot more".
Bhardwaj also said Tuesday's announcement should have been made months ago.
"We're cramming for that final exam where we probably should've been studying all along".
"The revised plan still falls far short of the expectations that have consistently been articulated by the Association in its representations", a statement reads.
Bylaws requiring masks be worn in public places went into effect in both Edmonton and Calgary on Saturday.
Alberta schools were closed in March.
EDMONTON-The Alberta government will make wearing masks mandatory for most students and staff when schools reopen in September.
The decision prompted concerns from parents and teachers about how it can be done safely. None of the guidelines are mandatory.
Alberta's chief medical officer of health will give an update on COVID-19 cases in the province Tuesday after the August long weekend.
"Our board will continue to advocate for financial support in our response to COVID", she said.