CALGARY – A Calgary parent is considering moving her children out of the province due to Alberta’s stance on COVID-19 measures.
Last week the province announced it would no longer require isolation for positive cases, reduce testing and contact tracing, and lift the mask mandate in schools.
“What do we do here?” said Krista Li, who is concerned about the changing COVID-19 rules in Alberta.
“How do we as parents send our child into an environment that we know isn’t safe?”
Li worries about her children ending up in the hospital, developing long COVID, or passing the virus along to their elderly grandparents who live with them.
“It’s bone-chilling to think that my child can be sitting in a classroom with somebody who is COVID positive and they have no requirement to be at home. Parents have no requirement to report that to the school. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of. It’s hard for me to speak about without getting emotional because these are my kids. It is my job to protect them,” she said.
“It is very selfish to minimize and say, ‘Well, kids just get sick.’ This isn’t the flu. I would like our premier to understand that. This isn’t the flu. And I think when scientists and when doctors and when researchers and epidemiologists are telling us this is dangerous, it’s on us to listen.”
Li says she’s left to contemplate the mental health effects of at-home schooling, or taking them back to her hometown in Newfoundland for school, leaving her husband behind.
Dr. Ruth Grimes, the president of the Canadian Pediatric Society spoke with CityNews, and said more needs to be done.
“I think that these basic public health measures should not be set aside.”
Cases in younger people have increased in the United States, where some places have re-imposed mask mandates. In Canada, children and teens made up 1.9 per cent of COVID hospitalizations as of Friday.
“Children are a small population of those who have been hospitalized let alone going to ICUs, and thankfully who have died. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still be concerned about those and the fact is that you don’t have enough information to comment on likely is long COVID symptoms in children and what those mean,” added Grimes.
“It’s a knot in your tummy,” said Li. “And no matter what solution you come up with, it sucks. It’s a buffet of poor choices.”
She says school boards need to release their plans so parents can make informed decisions.
In the meantime, Grimes added that it’s important for parents to keep up the fundamentals and stay positive even as they’re concerned.
“We want adults in our community to protect our children. We want our children to be able to go back and have a good start and a return back to normal contact with their friends, normal play, normal physical activity.”