Hamilton’s Catholic school board makes masks mandatory for all students


Published August 21, 2020 at 3:18 pm

Hamilton’s Catholic school board has made masks mandatory for all students, from JK to 12.

Hamilton’s Catholic school board has made masks mandatory for all students, from JK to 12.

In a press release issued Thursday (August 20), the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWCDSB) said that safety was the reason behind two motions brought before trustees at Thursday’s special meeting.

“Trustees voted unanimously in favour of recommendations to stagger school reopening for elementary students and to mandate masks for all students, JK to Grade 12,” the board says.

The request by school boards to stagger school reopening was authorized by the Ministry of Education in a memo to Chairs and Directors of Education dated August 13th, the board confirms.

The board says that this approach to elementary school re-opening over the first two weeks of school will provide an opportunity for students to learn new routines and for new health and safety practices to be reinforced.

The decision to mandate that all students wear a non-medical mask or face covering while in school – subject to reasonable exceptions – was made in consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services to protect students when physical distancing may not be possible, HWCDSB says.

“Both of these recommendations are being made in support of the Board’s priority to do all it can to ensure and promote the health and safety and well-being of our staff and students,” said Chairperson Patrick J. Daly.

“The evolving guidance from the Ministry of Education and the complex challenges concerning school re-opening has required flexibility and adaptability on the part of the board and all those associated with publicly funded education, including, of course, parents and staff.”

Currently, in Hamilton’s public school board, masks are mandatory for students in Grades 4 to 12. They have not been mandated for younger students yet.

Also, the return to school for Hamilton’s public school students is still September 8, with no plans for staggering re-opening.

Class sizes are still a source of contention for elementary parents and teachers as there is no plan in place right now to reduce the number of students in elementary classrooms in the public and Catholic school boards.

Information on the staggering of the first two weeks of the school year at Hamilton’s Catholic schools and mandated wearing of masks will be shared with parents/guardians and staff as soon as possible, HWCDSB says.

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