Physical distancing requirement in classrooms removed ahead of back-to-school

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has signed a public health order removing a physical distancing requirement for students, staff members and visitors in classrooms ahead of the province’s return to school this week.

“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 student, staff or students are seated at a desk or table,” the order states.

That provision applies “within a classroom or place where the instruction, course or program of study is taking place.”

Desks, tables and chairs should still be arranged in a manner to prevent students who are seated from facing each other. Classrooms should also allow for “the greatest possible distance” between seated students and staff.

The order, signed by Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Saturday, is effective throughout the province as of this week. In-person classes are set to resume on Tuesday.

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