Amid surging COVID-19 cases in the city, some schools in Winnipeg’s Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) are in the process of consulting with parents on increased mask use in-and-outside of the classroom.
The schools are proposing mask rules that go beyond the provincial mandate, requiring students from Grade 4-12 to wear masks throughout the school day.
LRSD superintendent Christian Michalik told 680 CJOB that while some schools have asked for students to wear masks during phys-ed classes, and others are aiming to get kids as young as kindergarten on board with full-time mask use in school — it won’t be a divisional mandate.
Michalik said he wants to come to a collective agreement with parents before making any district-wide recommendations.
“We’ve been talking as a staff for some time now about all the measures. And one of those measures that mitigate risk is mask-wearing,” he said.
“There’s a growing sentiment that we should be more vigilant as a community around this measure as one of the many measures that mitigates risk.”
Michalik said the division has seen evidence that, developmentally, students of all ages can learn to wear masks when it’s appropriate, but individual schools are putting out feelers in their respective communities to gauge the response of families to increased restrictions.
Getting your kids to mask up
“It’s about local leaders of school communities, principals, reaching out to school communities to talk and build collective agreement around mask-wearing as just one of many measures,” he said.
“It’s not going to be a mandate — it really has to be about building collective consensus.”
One LRSD school that has suggested masks for younger students is Ecole Sage Creek, which, in an email sent to parents obtained by Global News, suggested it’s looking into full-day masks for all of its elementary school students.
“With higher numbers of cases in Winnipeg,” the letter said, “we’d like to ask all students and staff to wear masks throughout the entire school day.
“We know that mask-wearing is only one part of a virus mitigation strategy, but as community transmission rates continue to increase, going above and beyond the provincial mask-wearing requirements will only help us to continue to do all we can to keep our community safe and our students in school.”
The letter went on to suggest all students wear masks in classes, as well as during phys-ed and recess periods.
Coronavirus: Face masks ‘more guaranteed’ to work against COVID-19 than a vaccine, CDC director says
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.