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'We have a collective obligation': Ontario doctor starts petition for mask mandates to remain in schools

Dr. Andrea Chittle says she was surprised by the outpouring of support from the community, noting she thought the 10,000 signature mark on the open letter would take upwards of a week.
Dr. Andrea Chittle
Dr. Andrea Chittle of Guelph is being honoured with a 2021 Award of Excellence from the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

An Ontario doctor and mother is calling on the province to keep the masking requirement in schools after the province announced the mandatory masking policies would be expiring in Ontario on March 21.

Dr. Andrea Chittle started a petition that's reached almost 12,000 signatures, as of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, with a straightforward message: it's too soon to lift the mask mandate in classrooms.

The petition reads "universal masking provides more protection than optional masking."

Dr. Chilttle calls it a "simple measure" that keeps COVID-19 from spreading in schools and went on to say that keeping the mask mandate in place for now will allow children to learn in the "safest, healthiest environments."

For every 1,000 signatures collected, the letter will be forwarded by email to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Education Critic for the Official Opposition Marit Stiles and Liberal Critic for Education, Colleges and Universities Kathleen Wynne.

In November, Chittle was honoured with a 2021 Award of Excellence. The College of Family Physicians of Canada Awards of Excellence recognizes family doctors for exceptional achievement in the specialty of family medicine in the past 24 months. Nominations come from peers or the public to the provincial chapter of which the nominee is a member.

The full petition can be found here

— with files from Daniel Caudle, Guelph Today and Germain Ma, CityNews

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