Out of an abundance of caution and based on the input of public health experts, educators and parents, the province is now mandating the use of masks for grades 4 to 12 when physical distancing is not possible, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“We are committed to keeping our students safe as they return to school during this challenging and unprecedented time,” said Pallister. “We have listened to the concerns of parents, teachers, administrators, staff and students, and we believe that greater clarity and confidence is necessary for the safe return to school this fall. We are taking these additional measures to ensure the health and well-being of our children, as they are our most precious resource.”
With the updated guidance, masks will be required for students in grades 4 to 12, teachers, school staff and visitors when physical distancing of two metres is not possible at school. Parents and caregivers will continue to choose whether younger students should wear a mask. Further guidance on exceptions will be available soon regarding specific mask-free time and for those not recommended to wear a mask.
“Wearing a mask offers an extra layer of protection, especially for indoor public spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. “We all have a role to play, and we want to be sure that we take every step we can to ensure the return to school is a safe one. This will help ensure there is consistency across the school system.”
The province is developing resources to help children, along with their parents and caregivers, learn how to safely put on, wear and remove a mask.