The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) says kindergarten students must wear masks in school this fall, even though provincial guidelines say masks are optional for kids in kindergarten.
Kindergarten students in the TDSB also had to wear masks last year, even though they were just recommended for that age cohort provincially. TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz told Daily Hive that the board is sticking to the same plan as last year.
The decision was made to keep the board’s youngest students and their families safe.
“I have been told by numerous teachers and principals that our littlest students are the most adaptable when it comes to masks,” she said.
She added Toronto Public Health supports the TDSB’s decision.
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Confirmation of a mask mandate for kindergarten students comes on the same day that the TDSB opened its online registration forms.
Families need to indicate by August 12 whether they would like to send children to school in-person or continue with online learning.
Starting today, we are asking families to complete an online selection form for in-person or virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year.
— Toronto District School Board (@tdsb) August 5, 2021
The Ontario government released its COVID-19 back-to-school plan earlier this week, and officials confirmed that vaccinated and unvaccinated children would be able to participate in the same activities.
Children 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada, but younger children must rely on other public health measures to avoid catching the virus.