Montreal elementary-school students to wear masks in class after spring break

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MONTREAL -- Elementary-school students in Greater Montreal will have to wear a medical mask in class after spring break.

"Following recommendations from Public Health and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, the wearing of a pediatric intervention mask (procedure) will henceforth be compulsory at all times in schools for elementary school students attending an establishment located in the red zone," reads a release from the government of Quebec.

Kids in many other regions will follow.

Starting March 9, students from Grade 1 to Grade 6 should wear a mask at all times indoors and while riding school transportation.

Certain students with special needs are exempt and the rule dose not apply on the playground.

Public health officials recommended that the government tighten health measures in schools in order to counter the threat of new variants.

On Wednesday, Montreal public health officials said that they are currently battling 22 outbreaks involving the variant, almost all of which are in schools or daycares. About eight to 10 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in Montreal are now variant cases, they said.

Michael Cohen, the spokesperson for the English Montreal School Board, said Wednesday afternoon he hadn't yet been informed of the new rule.

There isn't expected to be any change in orange zone regions.

Here are more points related to the mask-wearing order:

  • In preschool, regardless of the area, wearing a face cover or pediatric mask is not required.
  • This new preventive measure does not change the established rules regarding physical distancing for recreation, outdoor trips, eating and physical education classes. The other instructions relating to the wearing of the mask and the face cover remain the same as those already issued.
  • For high school students, wearing an intervention mask remains mandatory at all times in the classroom, when traveling, on school grounds and in school transportation.