Toronto District School Board looking to implement face masks for all students

Aug 19 2020, 1:02 pm

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is looking to implement face masks for all students.

Currently, the policy for Ontario schools is to have students Grade 4 and up wear the masks.

The TDSB has put forth a motion that must be reviewed by the Finance Budget and Enrollment Committee on Thursday and then the board will look to approve it in the next few days.

The motion notes that younger children contract COVID-19 and “carry high viral loads in their respiratory system” which indicates the ability for children to contract and spread the virus.

Because coronavirus is spread through droplets, the motion says that face coverings like non-medical masks, combined with frequent hand washing are effective at reducing virus spread.

The proposal also mentions that Toronto Public Health has advised all people age two and older to wear a mask in a public setting.

“Toronto Public Health data shows that communities across the City are differentially impacted by COVID-19 and suggests that our most vulnerable populations of students and families are at highest risk of continued and renewed outbreaks; and that, it seems likely that these same communities have less flexibility to ‘opt-out’ of in-school learning to protect their families,” the motion reads.

Medical exemptions will be made for students who cannot wear a mask and face shields are a possible alternative for some.

During Premier Doug Ford’s daily press briefing he commented on the TDSB’s motion, saying that he goes with the experts, like SickKids, who did not recommend a face mask for children in kindergarten.

“They said children would fiddle with it. I have four girls, I remember when they were four or five years-old and it would be hard to keep a mask on them. But, we’ll support the board.”

The school board is currently figuring out its back-to-school plan, after their initial plan was rejected by the provincial government earlier this week.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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