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Edmonton Catholic Schools are reinstating COVID-19 safety measures as hundreds of students prepare to return to year-round schools Wednesday.

Three schools that operate all year in Alberta’s capital are bringing back mandatory masking, screening protocols and enhanced cleaning as they await updated guidelines from the provincial government.

Those measures will be implemented at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School, St. Catherine Catholic Elementary and Junior High and St. Alphonsus Catholic Elementary and Junior High.

School division spokeswoman Christine Meadows said further guidance is expected from the province in mid-August, which will direct back-to-school plans for students returning in September.

The move comes as Alberta leads the country in active COVID-19 cases. There are 3,463 active infections in the province after another 279 cases were reported Tuesday. A total of 133 people are in hospital, including 29 in intensive care.

Testing, tracing and isolation requirements have been lifted in the province, with quarantine no longer mandatory for positive cases starting Aug. 16.

Other Alberta school districts, which have students returning in September, said they are still working on their return-to-school plans.

Megan Normandeau, a spokeswoman for Edmonton Public Schools, said the district is reviewing Alberta’s changes to public-health guidelines and the potential impact to students and staff.

Calgary’s public-school board similarly said they are monitoring an evolving situation.

In a statement from Calgary Board of Education spokeswoman Megan Geyer, she said the district is working closely with Alberta’s Health and Education ministries “to ensure appropriate health and safety protocols are adhered to in our schools and work places.”

Ms. Geyer said the board is sharing additional information with staff and families later this month.

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