In the absence of provincial guidance at the time of the regular meeting, the Board moved to mandate masks for all staff and students in kindergarten through grade 12.
In consideration of the provincial health announcements made on the evening of September 15, the Board called a special meeting for the following evening. During the special meeting, the Board moved to rescind its motion mandating masks for all students in order to follow provincial guidance that requires masks only for students in grades 4 through 12.
Beginning Monday, masks will be mandatory for the Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division.
During a regular meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Trustees passed a motion to implement masking measures in schools across their division, effective Sept.20. Students and staff will be required to wear masks in common areas, as well as in classrooms when not seated at their desks.
STAR says that students with medical exemptions will not be required to wear masks. Students will also not be required to wear masks while playing sports or participating in physical education class. Visitors to the school will be required to wear masks at all times.
The Board considered a variety of background information presented during a committee of the whole meeting, including a review of political context and public health measures applied across the province. Consideration of parent communication, case and vaccination rates by community, and hospitalization rates in school aged children were also considered.
“After deliberation, (we have) taken the approach that, as masks are now required in all public areas in the province, the same health measures should be applied to our school buildings. The Board felt it was necessary to take these steps to protect students, staff, and school communities,” says Chair Michelle Lamer.
“We understand that there are arguments on both sides of this issue, as well as a variety of opinions on how to best approach it. We thank families for their support and understanding and ask that we all treat each other with respect during what is a very difficult time for all.”