Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Masks for students in schools? Alberta’s top doctor looking at evidence

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials in the province are looking at evidence from around the world with respect to mandatory masking in schools.

With students set to return to classrooms in the fall, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health says her team is interested in the lessons that can be learned from jurisdictions where masks have been mandatory.

Hinshaw says young children may be more likely to touch their face or fiddle with their mask during the day. “I don’t know if we have enough evidence yet to understand how young children will potentially react to wearing masks. We know that touching one’s face, especially with unwashed hands is a significant risk factor for picking up the virus if there is someone who’s infectious in that environment.”

Hinshaw says it’s important to try to think about all angles and potential consequences before mandating masks in schools. She notes if kids are uncomfortable and fiddle with a mask during the day they could inadvertently catch the virus.

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“Those are the kinds of things we are trying to get a better understanding of,” says Hinshaw. “We are looking at the evidence on masking at this time to try to understand what current evidence is telling us.”

The Alberta government announced last week that students will be returning to schools across the province in September with “near normal” operations with public health protocols in place.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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