Kitchener-Waterloo

Masks will be required for all students in Upper Grand District School Board

Students attending public schools in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin County will need to wear masks this fall. Upper Grand District School Board trustees voted to make masks mandatory for all grades during a meeting Tuesday night.

Trustees voted in favour of requiring masks 1 day after Waterloo region's public board did

Students wear face masks in a classroom in Dortmund, Germany, on Aug. 12. All students who attend Upper Grand District School Board schools will be required to wear masks this fall indoors. (Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)

All students who attend schools in the Upper Grand District School Board will need to wear masks if they've opted for in-class learning this fall.

Trustees voted in favour of making the masks mandatory for all grades of students, staff and visitors Tuesday night. The measure covers schools in Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin County.

The move is to help curb the spread of COVID-19 for students who have opted to return to class. The first day of school is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Children with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks will be exempt. Staff are also being directed to look for alternatives for students who are unable to wear mask. 

There will be "progressive disciplinary action" for students who don't comply. 

The province has mandated students in Grade 4 and up need to wear masks. Boards are allowed to take other measures if they feel it's appropriate.

The move comes a day after trustees with the Waterloo Region District School Board voted unanimously to make masks mandatory for all students. 

Most students to return to class

Preliminary numbers show the Upper Grand District School Board received approximately 34,000 responses to its back-to-school survey with 2,700 people saying they planned to keep students home this fall and do at-home learning. Some of those responses may contain errors or duplicate responses, the board noted.

Dr. Nicola Mercer, the medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, said in a release on Wednesday that she met with school officials this week to talk about back-to-school plans.

"I advocated for the mandating of masks for students in Grade 1 and above and strongly encouraged them for children in [junior and senior kindergarten]," she said. 

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