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Ontario rejects TDSB’s request for more time in lifting mask rules in schools

TORONTO — Ontario’s largest school board says the province has rejected its request for more time in lifting mask mandates and other remaining COVID-19 public health measures.

Masking rules are set to come to an end in most settings on Monday, but the Toronto District School Board had asked for an extension to gradually ease out of masking as students return from March Break.

The board had cited concerns over low vaccination rates among children five to 11 years old, and the risk to immuno-compromised students and staff, in making the request.

The TDSB says the province’s top doctor, along with the Ministry of Education, responded Thursday and “reiterated their previous direction” on lifting mask mandates.

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TDSB requests more time to remove mandatory masking among other COVID measures

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The board says masking will nonetheless be “strongly encouraged in TDSB schools, though not required” starting next week.

It says masks will still be available to both staff and students on request, and “classroom environments will be inclusive of all students.”

“We recognize that adapting to this new reality will take time and that not everyone will have the same level of comfort as measures are lifted. It is OK to be anxious about the coming weeks and it is also OK to be excited and hopeful,” the board said in a statement.

“Please do what makes you feel comfortable during this time and please respect the individual choices that other people make.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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