CORNWALL, ON – On Feb. 23, 2022, the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) voted on making mask mandates optional for kindergarten students.
Last October, following recommendations from Dr. Paul Roumelitois, and Dr. Paula Stewart, the UCDSB trustees voted to include kindergarten students in the mask mandate requirement in schools, beginning Nov 1.
On February 23, Chairman John McAllister reversed October’s motion, by introducing a new motion to make the mask mandate optional for kindergarten students.
Dr. Paul Roumelitois, and Dr. Paula Stewart’s presentation to the board, covered the topic of masking in schools.
Ontario has required indoor masking for students from Grade 1 to Grade 12. According to Roumeliotis, students in kindergarten are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, but are not required to.
‘‘There’s been a recent study from Public Health Ontario that shows that mask wearing has shown a lower incident of COVID infections,” added Roumeliotis.
Roumeliotis has been receiving emails from both sides of the coin, in favour of continuing masking in schools, and from those who want masking to be stopped immediately.
“In pediatrics, public health and medicine, our goal is to balance between protecting the child between positives and negatives,” said Roumeliotis. “And we believe, and I still do believe that the benefits outweigh any risks. Certainly, the masking, to me, is not an invasive intervention,”he added.
The trustees voted in favour of the motion to make masking for kindergarten students optional, and took effect immediately as of Thursday, Feb. 24.