‘I feel for the parents’: Dr Hinshaw regrets confusing COVID-19 orders as schools reopen

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In her first one-on-one interview with Global News since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Tuesday that she regretted how a health order she signed over the weekend had been treated, and that she believed her opinions and recommendations had been treated. always been taken with respect by the elected representatives of the province.The interview was arranged by officials at Alberta Health to allow Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, to further clarify a health order she signed over the weekend that led to negative reactions online.

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Ordinance 33 provides educators with clarity on school guidance, including masks, and also clarifies that physical distance measures do not need to be in place if a student, staff member or visitor sits at a desk or table.

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“I want to say that I really regret any anxiety or confusion that has arisen due to the timing of this order’s release,” Hinshaw told Global News Tuesday afternoon. “And I agree that it would have been better if we could finalize it earlier and have it released during the week where we could have proactively talked about it.

“I feel for parents who are feeling anxious and who feel that this message right now is confusing and anxious.”

Hinshaw said the order was signed to give school officials official advice that “was not optional” regarding masks, distancing and other COVID-19 measures.

“I want to be very clear that distancing is not optional in all places and all schools. And distancing is an important part of the back to school plan, ”she said. “The exception is that if the students are seated, they don’t move, they don’t interact dynamically. So if they are seated, if their desks are as far apart as possible and if they are not facing each other.

“If a school was looking to physically distance itself at all times in order to minimize the use of masks, then what we wanted to do was make sure it was clear in that order how this could be accomplished,” said Hinshaw.








Alberta students won’t have to be left behind in class: Dr. Deena Hinshaw

Alberta students won’t have to be left behind in class: Dr. Deena Hinshaw

“The opinion of our policy team within the ministry was that the ordinance was necessary to be able to provide that legal clarity of the masking requirement, and legal clarity on what would be needed for a school to pursue. a no-masking in person returns to school, so that’s the advice we received and that’s why we followed this particular course of action. “

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Hinshaw added that she wanted Albertans to understand that the recommendations have not changed since they were first announced in early August, and that distancing and masks are only part of the efforts in schools.

“Even if it were possible to walk two meters at any time during a class, there would still be no risk of COVID,” Hinshaw said.

“There will always be a risk of exposure to COVID, any time you bring people together in any setting.

“The really good thing about the Alberta model, and I think one of the things that supports individual parents who don’t want COVID risk is the option they have to have their child in another form of schooling.










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Advice to the province is always taken “with respect”

Hinshaw also spoke about how the process works between her and the province. The Chief Medical Officer of Health is a member of the Alberta Health leadership team and reports to the Minister of Health.

“My recommendations are based on the available evidence, the experiences of jurisdictions and how they translate into the Alberta context,” Hinshaw explained. “And my best judgment is based on all of this information. And then the political element comes into play when elected officials make these recommendations and make the decisions they have chosen by our people.

“My advice has always been respected,” she says.

“I don’t have a monopoly on the truth… I always thought I could make recommendations freely and they were always taken into account and incorporated into a final decision.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jason Kenney stood up for Hinshaw – and said the government had worked with her throughout the pandemic to take the more ‘scientific’ routes through the reopening.

“Alberta’s plan is broadly similar to that of other provinces,” he said. “I trust the expert scientific advice we receive from the Chief Medical Officer and his team of public health experts.”










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Hinshaw also thanked the teams she worked with amid the pandemic, both in government and in Alberta Health Services.

“It has been busy, and I am grateful to work with a truly amazing team in the Ministry and at AHS, and also to have incredible support from my family. So I can’t complain about all these parts, but it’s been very busy.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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