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Ottawa school trustee wants kindergarteners masked, parents to show vaccination proof

An Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) trustee wants mandatory masking to be required of all kindergartners in the district once students return to school this fall. 

The motion which is titled “Mandatory masking for students in all kindergarten classes” was submitted by trustee Lyra Evans before Tuesday’s OCDSB special committee of the whole meeting. 

It specifically calls for “the OCDSB (to) extend the existing mandatory masking mandate to include students in all kindergarten classes.” 

True North reached out to Evans for further clarification regarding the motion but did not receive a response by the given deadline.

In line with the Ontario government’s public health directions, OCDSB masking policy currently requires compulsory masking for students between Grades 1-12. 

As it stands, students in kindergarten are only being “strongly encouraged” to wear a mask. 

Additionally, the school board allows for students who are unable to wear a mask based on the Ontario Human Rights Code to seek accommodations on mask use. 

Alongside wanting to force kindergarteners to wear masks, Evans will also be presenting a number of other motions related to vaccinations and child consent. 

According to Public Health Ontario, children have a cumulative rate of infection 1.6 times lower than adults. Additionally, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and severe outcomes are “much lower” than the amount reported in adult populations. 

In total, Evans submitted five motions to be presented on Tuesday. One deals with mandating vaccinations for OCDSB staff.

“Staff who are unable to receive vaccinations for medical reasons be

prioritized for teaching and working in the virtual learning environment,” Evans wrote. 

Another motion also requires “any volunteer” with the board such as coaches or chaperones to “provide proof of full vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus.” 

Additionally, a motion put forward by Evans seeks to require anyone visiting school grounds including guests and parents to be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated when accessing public school property. 

Evans’ final motion also has to do with educating students on making “informed medical decisions” around vaccination, citing court rulings that state that children 12 years of age can make “informed medical decision” without parental consent.

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