During the Virtual Special Board Meeting on Monday, August 17, Trustees of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) voted unanimously to require students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 to wear masks during the upcoming school year. This enhanced health and safety measure builds on the Provincial requirement for students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear masks during the school day. 

The motion, introduced by Trustee Carol Millar, a former public health nurse, requires that masks be worn indoors by all students, staff and visitors, allowing for appropriate medical exemptions. Staff will also be exploring alternatives, such as face shields, for students who are unable to wear masks. Staff will work with and approach compliance among younger students with compassion and a focus on education. There will be no disciplinary action for students having difficulty complying. 

There will be no added financial cost to provide these masks to students in Kindergarten to Grade 3, as staff have already incorporated this cost into the budget for this upcoming school year. “I can’t say how pleased I am that this was unanimous,” said Chairperson Jayne Herring. “Offering an added layer of protection for our students and staff through this motion will help to offer peace of mind for all those learning and working in our schools.”

All Elementary students will be provided with up to five reusable masks and Secondary students will be provided with up to three reusable masks. All students will be provided with a disposable mask in the event they forget their mask at home. Masks are provided to ensure that all students are protected where physical distancing can be a challenge and be able to participate in in-class learning or ride the bus, where masks are also required.