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Ottawa's largest school board will not reinstate mask mandate

The board says on Twitter that it encourages the community to follow the advice from Ottawa Public Health, including by wearing masks indoors.
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Photo of an empty classroom. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

Ottawa’s largest school board will not be bringing back mask mandates.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) says a motion to reinstate the requirement for students and staff at its schools did not pass on Thursday, Nov. 24 after the vote was split 6-6.

The board says on Twitter that it encourages the community to follow the advice from Ottawa Public Health, including by wearing masks indoors.

The board met virtually after a special meeting to debate the motion on Tuesday, Nov. 22 became chaotic after disruptions from people who showed up to oppose the motion. Police were called to remove rowdy individuals after security made fruitless attempts to ask people to leave.

According to the board, only about 10 to 15 per cent of students and staff across the 143 schools are regularly wearing masks.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will respect parents’ decisions and says they’ve invested in improving air ventilation in every school in the province.

Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’s top doctor, also said last week it was up to the school boards whether to mandate masks in the classroom after “strongly recommending” Ontarians mask up in all indoor settings, including schools and childcare centres.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2022

 

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