The City of Edmonton donated about 50,000 KN95 masks it had previously been given by the province to the Edmonton Public School Board.
During the past few months of the pandemic, the province provided the city with KN95 masks, city spokesperson Geoffrey Driscoll said. The city has made the masks available to city employees as needed.
Then, in mid-December, the public school board asked the city if it had any extra KN95 masks. The city had some extra ones at the end of 2021, Driscoll explained.
“The City of Edmonton maintains good relationships with a number of agencies within our region and routinely helps them, when possible,” Driscoll said.
“We recently transferred some of those masks — about 50,000 — to the Edmonton Public School board,” he added.
“This was a one-time donation with the understanding that the Edmonton Public School Board will share what was supplied with other school boards.”
The city has not given KN95 masks to any other organizations nor does it have any more masks to share at this time.
The NDP education critic said this donation amounts to a 10-day supply for schools.
Sarah Hoffman said the UCP government is failing to provide appropriate PPE to schools and local leaders are filling the gaps.
“Yesterday, hit with soaring absentee rates, Calgary’s public and separate school districts began to purchase their own N95 masks for school staff. Local leaders are stepping up where the provincial government has refused to act,” she said.
“Schools should be a safe place for students, teachers and all staff. But right now, during this Omicron surge, the UCP have left Albertans to fend for themselves.”
In addition to N95 masks for students and staff, the Opposition is calling on the UCP government to provide HEPA filters for schools, funding to make substitute teachers full-time, funding for mental health counsellors in schools, accurate public reporting of COVID-19 infections and absenteeism in schools and financial support for families.
“Our NDP caucus has called on the UCP to provide N95 masks for students and staff, HEPA filters for schools, funding to make substitute teachers full-time, funding for mental health counsellors in schools, accurate public reporting of infections and absenteeism in schools, and financial support for families.”
On Friday, Alberta Health reported 822 people were in hospital with COVID-19, 81 of whom were receiving care in the ICU.
The province also said five additional deaths had been reported in the past 24 hours.