Trustee wants face masks mandatory for all Kindergarten to Grade 3 students in Ottawa’s public schools

OTTAWA — An Ottawa public school board trustee wants to make face masks mandatory for all elementary and secondary school students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One month after trustees voted to “strongly recommend” students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 wear a face mask, Trustee Donna Blackburn will introduce a motion Tuesday night to make face masks mandatory for all students.

All Ottawa Carleton District School Board students in Grade 4 to Grade 12 must wear a face mask while at school, while masks are recommended for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

During a board meeting on Aug. 25, Trustee Lyra Evans introduced a motion to make masks mandatory for all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. But Trustees voted to change the motion to state that masks are “strongly recommended” for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, “whenever reasonable.”

The agenda for Tuesday’s OCDSB board meeting shows Trustee Blackburn will introduce a motion to amend the face mask requirement, noting the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa has changed since the start of the school year.

Blackburn’s motion recommends the board amend the motion to state that the Ottawa Carleton District School Board requires the “mandatory wearing of masks at school for students in Grades Kindergarten to Grade 3.”

In her motion, Blackburn says “the City of Ottawa has seen a rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 and has now been declared in a second wave of COVID-19.”

Blackburn notes some parents have expressed their concern that the wearing of masks for younger students is not mandatory.

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