Masking mandate to end in UGDSB on March 21, as school board does not have the authority to continue enforcement of the mandate
Mandatory masking will no longer be required in Upper Grand District School Board schools as of March 21, 2022, as the school board does not have the authority to enforce this beyond March 21.
Here are the facts:
- On March 9, 2022, the province announced it was lifting mask requirements for Ontario schools, beginning on March 21.
- At a Special Board Meeting of the UGDSB in August 2020, Trustees approved a Board Resolution that all staff, students and visitors are required to wear a mask indoors and on school buses.
- Following the province’s March 9 announcement, the UGDSB consulted with several parties to determine next steps and receive clarity on the board’s authority to mandate public health measures.
- Those consultations concluded that once the province lifts its masking requirements, the school board does not have the independent authority to prescribe public health measures in response to an infectious disease, such as COVID-19.
- Further, boards of trustees do not have the authority to impose restrictions that the Ministry has directed must be revoked.
UGDSB March 22, 2022, Board Meeting
As such, at the March 22, 2022, regular UGDSB Board Meeting, the changes to mask protocols will be on the agenda. The Board of Trustees will need to follow the direction of the government and bring forward a motion to align with Ministry direction and rescind the Board Resolution.
We know that the topic of masks can be a divisive one. We want to stress that students, staff and visitors are still welcome to wear masks in our schools, and this is their choice. Masking indoors continues to be strongly encouraged. Staff will continue to be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).
We encourage all members of our school communities to treat others with kindness and respect with regards to their choice.
As we head into the March Break, I would like to wish everyone a safe and restful break and continue to encourage everyone to follow public health measures.
Director of Education