COVID-19: Toronto District School Board to provide every student with medical mask

A medical face mask. Aleksandr Zubkov via Getty Images

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) says it will provide medical masks to all students as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

In a press release, the board said trustees approved a motion during Wednesday’s meeting to purchase level 3 medical grade masks for TDSB students.

The board said one medical mask will be made available per day to all students until the end of the school year “should they wish to wear them.”

The release said that students may continue to wear their own mask instead per the board’s COVID-19 mask procedure.

Read more: 2,939 people in Ontario hospitals with COVID, 555 in intensive care

TDSB Chair Alexander Brown said medical masks can be “cost-prohibitive for families.”

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“By providing medical masks, the TDSB is ensuring that all students have access to high-quality PPE and greater protection against COVID-19,” Brown said.

“We continue to urge the Ministry of Education to fully fund and reimburse school boards for all pandemic costs, including providing medical masks for students.”

Depending on the masks purchased and used by students, TDSB said it is projected to cost the board between $444,000 and $2 million.

“As the Ministry of Education will not be funding the purchase of medical masks for students, this cost will need to be supported through the TDSB’s reserve funds,” the release reads.

TDSB said its staff will now “move forward with ordering the masks,” and will “provide more information to students and families once a confirmed timeline of delivery is established.”

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TDSB Director of Education Colleen Russel-Rawlins said the board’s goal is to “not only (to) provide enhanced protection,” but to “provide students and their families with greater peace of mind.”

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The news comes as the province reported 2,939 people were in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 555 receiving care in an intensive care unit.

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