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Monday, August 2, 2021
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Alberta’s top doctor drops physical distancing rule for schools

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 New 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.

On a personal note, Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and funeral assistant since 2016.

Pat is engaged to Tarah and he has two kids and two step-children.

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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