Child, youth worker has concerns about school mask

  • 2021-03-23
  • 1850

A child and youth worker for the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) at two Orillia schools. I have some concerns with the lack of equity and safety around mask-wearing in our school community.

Every day, children/students in kindergarten to Grade 12 are required to wear a mask to school. Some schools prefer that students are coming with their own cloth mask.

I am a mom of three. Two of my children attend schools in SCDSB and wear one cloth mask to school, and have three extra in their bag for the day. Most days when they come home I am washing eight masks. I am very fortunate to have money for cloth masks and access to laundry. 

The concern: Kids are coming to school with the same mask unwashed. It is not safe, it is not fair. And I know this is not just happening here. We need community support. 

People are communicating that the school should be providing masks. Yes, we have disposable masks to provide to our students and black cloth masks. 

The bigger picture: Asking for a mask every day can be exhausting, worrisome and embarrassing. Who wants to be the student asking for a classroom/office mask?

Don't get me wrong, some students are unfazed; however, for some students this can set their day up for failure.

What about sensory needs? How many parents out there struggle with getting their kids to wear certain pants, shirts, coats, hats or shoes? It's the same with masks. 

On top of that, let's say the students take the black cloth mask. What if it gets wet at recess (x2)? Now they are obligated to either wear the wet mask or ask for another one. Are there enough to be giving each student multiple masks a day? Again, this is anxiety-provoking.

Also, can I add that an educational assistant (EA) that I work with takes extra disposable masks outside to hand out on the yard before the bell rings in case there are students (and there are) who do not have a mask to even have the privilege to be on their own school property.

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