Masks at School

Please see the Public Health Checklist for Families to use each day before school. Do not send your child to school if they have symptoms of COVID. Please also practise hand washing and mask donning and doffing at home.

Students in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear a mask and students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 are strongly encouraged to wear a mask.  The processes in this post are based on the following principles:

  • Safe storage of the masks, including protection of the inner layer to avoid contamination.
  • Maintaining a physical distance of two metres when not wearing a mask.
  • Incorporating appropriate mask breaks during the day.

Parents and students should remember:

  • Provide multiple snug and comfortable masks (at least 3) for your child, so they have back-ups ready.
  • We suggest separate bags to store clean and dirty masks and a pouch or fanny pack to hold them. Wash cloth masks daily.

Opportunities for Mask Breaks:

York Region Public Health recommends that students be provided time during the school day to remove their masks to reduce mask fatigue.  Teachers may consider additional times to provide students a break from mask wearing such as:

  • Indoor gym classes where 2m physical distance can be maintained
  • DPA outside
  • Other instructional times when staff may wish to take their students outside.  Please note that for community walks students/staff will still be required to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at this time.
  • Teachers will monitor their students to determine the frequency of mask breaks.

Mask Removal for Recess

We have worked with York Region Public Health, and our regional hospital partners to develop a process that focuses on student and staff safety within the school setting. The process can be followed for both morning and lunch recess to provide students a mask-free time while remaining physically distant at two meters while outdoors.

 Recess Mask Protocol:

Students are permitted  to wear their mask outside for recess if they prefer.  Students are asked to bring their own storage source (e.g., fanny pack, split pack, cloth bag or pouch) to store their mask during outdoor recess. Students will be reminded not to frequently take their mask on and off, in order to minimize risk of cross contamination from improper storage and poor hand hygiene. 

  1. Morning Entry:
    • Students come to schools with their masks on, which remain on until recess.
    • Students enter in a physically-distanced manner.
  1. Recess Exit:
    • Students sanitize hands while in the classroom.
    • Students who are not wearing their mask outside are to take off their mask, fold it in half so that the outer surface is inwards (so that the outer surface which is contaminated is not contacting anything during storage) and store appropriately in the classroom (e.g., in a student owned pouch or on a paper towel on their desk).   
    • Staff manage the safe and orderly student exit from school in a predetermined, physically-distanced way (by hallway, grade, separate doors, etc.). We have divided the school into 2 groups over 2 different recesses to keep them distanced in cohorts.
  1. While Outside:
    • Students are to play with only students from their cohort and must maintain two meters physical distancing.
    • Students should be discouraged from entering the school during recess (e.g., washroom, drink). In emergency situations students may seek the approval of staff to enter the building, and ensure physical distancing.
  1. Return from Recess
    • Students replicate the process from before recess in reverse order and proceed directly to their classroom. They should not be stopping to use the washroom, get a drink or return items to their coat hooks before donning their mask.
    • When back inside the classroom students wash or sanitize hands and put on their mask