Winnipeg School Division, Pembina Trails make masks mandatory

Click to play video: 'Local businesses and masks'
Local businesses and masks
With fall around the corner and a fourth wave looming -- you might see local businesses keep their mask mandates for a little while longer. Global's Anya Nazeravich has more – Aug 20, 2021

All school divisions in Winnipeg have now made masks mandatory for the upcoming school year.

Both the Winnipeg Winnipeg School Division and the Pembina Trails School Division announced plans Friday to make masks compulsory for all students, staff and visitors during the upcoming school year.

Read more: Four Winnipeg school divisions mandate masks, others request change

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That follow similar decisions already announced by the Louis Riel, River East Transcona, St. James-Assiniboia,  and Seven Oaks school divisions, as well as Division scolaire franco-manitobaine.

Winnipeg School Division board chair Betty Edel said the board had previously written to Education Minister Cliff Cullen asking him to reconsider his government’s decision not to make masks mandatory in schools, but hadn’t heard back by Friday morning.

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Click to play video: 'Some Winnipeg school divisions are making masks mandatory'
Some Winnipeg school divisions are making masks mandatory

“We believe that a provincial mandate, supported by a public health order, would be more effective and consistent, however, we also recognize that the vast majority of WSD parents and guardians want to have the reassurance now that their children will be provided this basic level of protection from the virus,”  Edel said in a release.

“Therefore, when WSD staff and students return to school in September, masks will be required.”

A post on Pembina Trail’s Twitter account also says it will be requiring all division staff to be fully vaccinated.

Read more: 3 largest post-secondary schools in Manitoba to require COVID-19 vaccinations for students, staff

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Masks are recommended but not made mandatory in Manitoba’s back to school plan, announced Aug. 5.

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Under the plan, schools will begin in the caution level or yellow on the COVID-19 pandemic scale, and Cullen said schools will have to plan to implement public health protocols if needed.

Students head back to the classroom in Manitoba Sept. 8.

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Manitoba’s back-to-school plan

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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