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Ontario: in classroom without masks, at least for now

TORONTO – Ontario school students will not have to wear masks during the fall semester: the Ministry of Education confirmed it today. The use of protective equipment will be voluntary and masks will be available to students upon request. Rapid tests will also remain available in schools. 

The fall semester 2022 will therefore be the first, complete, since the beginning of the pandemic, in which Ontario students will not be forced to wear masks. Unless the situation worsens and the reintroduction of security measures is not necessary. On this, however, the government has not yet expressed itself: the details of a possible “plan B” in the event of an increase in infections are lacking.

The mandatory use of face masks ended in most Ontario facilities on March 21, when the devices were made optional for students in classrooms. Then, late last month, the Ministry of Education announced a plan to help students catch up after two years of (or near) learning disruptions.

“Our government’s plan to catch up is designed to keep students in safe classrooms without interruption,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce told CTV yesterday. “This plan – added the minister – is focused on helping students get back on track, learn work and life skills and enjoy the full return of clubs, sports and extra-curricular programs, essential for physical health. and mental of the students. This starts with being in class, on time, with full school experience coupled with historical mental health supports and mentoring. “

However, few details have been disclosed, we said, on how the government intends to ensure that in-person learning continues throughout the year, particularly if another wave of Covid-19 hits the province. Instead, the government touted its previous investments in ventilation improvements and filtration units, the provision of rapid tests for staff and students, and funding for parents to offset the costs of online learning. According to the Province, approximately $ 26.6 billion has been earmarked for primary and secondary education in Ontario for the 2022-23 school year.

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