Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Ontario school board will defy the province and keep the mask mandates

The Ontario school board will defy the province and continue to enforce mask mandates.

Key Takeaways:

  • A southern Ontario school board is sticking to its plan to extend its mask mandate beyond the provincial one, despite the government telling it to drop the public health measure.
  • According to Danko, the school board has continued to keep the Ministry of Education informed about its transition plan.

Even after the government told it to drop the public health measure, a southern Ontario school board is sticking to its strategy to extend its mask mandate beyond the provincial one.

Despite the province lifting requirements in most indoor settings starting Monday, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board said in a statement released Friday evening that it would enforce mask-wearing until April 1.

“Our first priority is to support staff and families during this phased approach and transition period. Staff and students are reminded to wear masks until April 1 and exercise their right to choose by completing the mask exemption process, if necessary, “Dawn Danko, the board chair, said.

She made the statement in reaction to Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s Friday letter.

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In the absence of a guideline from a public health unit, the government claims the board has no legal authority to require masks.

Lecce’s letter echoed the concerns raised by the province’s top doctor.

“Ontario now has both the prevention as well as response tools required to manage the effect of COVID-19,” the letter states, adding that the province can now remove “many of the emergency measures that have been in place for the past two years.”

Few public health measures, such as needed COVID-19 self-screening for staff and students, ventilation upgrades, and improved air quality practices, will remain in schools, according to the letter.

Moore announced earlier this week that mandatory masking in schools would end on Monday, although some school boards had requested an extension.

The Ontario school board will defy the province and continue to enforce mask mandates.
The Ontario school board will defy the province and continue to enforce mask mandates. Image from Barrie News

Premier Doug Ford previously stated that boards would be expected to follow Moore’s instructions.

On the other hand, Danko stated that the school board has continued to keep the Ministry of Education informed about its transition plan.

“We appreciate the Ministry of Education’s and Hamilton Public Health Services’ ongoing collaboration and support,” she said.

The Toronto District School Board, Toronto’s Catholic school board, and the Waterloo Region public school board have all requested extensions to the mask mandate.

On Friday, the Nova Scotia government announced that it would keep mask mandates in public schools in place until at least mid-April, rather than lifting the requirement on Monday as planned.

Source: CTV news

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