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'Students want to wear masks': Alta. kids walk out of class to protest COVID-19 changes

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Dozens of Edmonton high school students walked out on their classes Monday afternoon to protest the Alberta government's recent changes to COVID-19 health measures.

Kids were no longer required to wear masks in schools, but a pupil-led group called Students Against Kenney is arguing that's not a safe policy move.

"There's so many people here and it's so great to see so many people stand up for the safety of students across Alberta. It's so nice to see that some people still care," said high school student Nathan Schutz.

Premier Jason Kenney celebrated the policy change in a series of Tweets Monday.

"The science is clear: children are at very low risk of severe Covid outcomes.Common sense measures continue, but after two years of disrupting kids’ lives, it’s time to help them get life back to normal," he said adding that students are free to wear masks, if they choose.

But McNally student Callum Mitchell said he feels Kenney is not listening to his generation.

"Students want to wear masks and they want to be safe. The vast majority of us support masks, support distancing and support being vaccinated," Mitchell argued while wearing a mask.

The students were supported by advocacy group Support Our Students and people carrying union flags. Several NDP MLAs were also at the protest.

"We have to come here to show the government that this is totally unacceptable. Not having masks in the classrooms just puts staff at risk, it puts students at risk and their families at risk," said Chase Clark with Socialist Fightback Alberta.

"I would like to see more protests like this, I would love to see unions mobilizing protests like this, and I would love to see a general strike to boot Kenney out of office," Josie Seaton added.

It was unclear how many students and schools took part, but the group also shared a picture of a protest in Ardrossan, Alta.

A complete list of Alberta's updated COVID-19 is available online.

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