Letter to Province re:masking requirements

Limestone Learning Foundation
Letter to Province re:masking requirements
Posted on 03/20/2022
Image of Trustee letter graphicUPDATE:  The province has responded to Trustees request for 2-week extension of mask requirements, noting all policies related to masking in schools is the responsibility of Ontario government.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Letter of Response to Trustees, March 18, 2022
Dr. P. Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health KFLAPH Letter of Response to Trustees, March 18, 2022

LDSB Trustees' Letter to Province March 17, 2022:
Dear Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Lecce, Dr. Moore and Dr. Oglaza:


This letter is a response to the CMOH statements of March 9, 2022 and the Ministry of Education memorandum of March 9, 2022 lifting public health measures in publicly funded K-12 schools in Ontario. In a Special Board Meeting held on March 16, 2022, Limestone District School Board Trustees unanimously approved a motion requesting a two-week extension of the masking requirements for Grades 1-12.

Limestone Trustees fully recognize that as the pandemic evolves, public health measures need to adjust. However, we are gravely concerned about the timing of the lifting of masks as students and staff return to schools after the March Break. It should be noted that these concerns echo those expressed by the Children’s Health Coalition that includes CHEO and Sick Kids. Extending the masking requirement for two-weeks would add a layer of protection that would mitigate the impact of COVID incubation time and align with the two-week masking requirement for anyone who has traveled internationally.

While the provincial directives from March 9 have been received differently by families, a significant number of families feel abandoned by the removal of public health measures. With the removal of masking requirements, Limestone Trustees request additional direction and communication regarding how schools can protect student and staff who are immunocompromised or who have complex medical needs, and students who are under age 5 and are currently unable to be vaccinated.

In addition, Limestone Trustees are very concerned about the misalignment of masking requirements being maintained on public transportation, but not on school buses. If the close confines of public transportation are a high-risk context, why are school buses deemed differently? It does not stand to reason that students riding a city bus to school would have to mask, while students on school buses can unmask.

Furthermore, extending masking requirements from March 21 to April 4 would also allow a greater number of students 5-11 years old to be fully vaccinated, and a greater number of 12-17 year old students to receive a booster shot.

Limestone Trustees request your urgent consideration of these requests, and a prompt response to our concerns. Granting our request for a two-week extension to masking requirements would provide an additional layer of safety, and help protect the health of students, staff, and families served by Limestone DSB, and across Ontario. 

Sincerely,

Suzanne Ruttan,
Chair, Limestone District School Board


Chair's Letter to Province Requesting Extension to Mask Requirements March 17, 2022

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.