September 22, 2020
Att: Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff of Garden Valley School Division
Re: Mandatory Mask Use
On Monday, September 21, 2020 Manitoba Education released a document providing further guidance on mask wearing. Following Public Health advice, the province continues to mandate the use of masks for students in grades 4 to 12, all school staff and visitors when physical distancing of two metres is not possible.
Younger students may wear masks, if they prefer. Masks are required on school buses for bus drivers, students, and any other passenger on the bus.
As a mandatory directive from the province of Manitoba, Garden Valley School Division is required to follow the direction stated. As directed by Manitoba Education, school divisions shall only grant exceptions to mandated mask wearing for specified exceptional circumstances. Information regarding the child’s limitations to wearing a mask must be provided to the school and be signed by a medical doctor. Exceptions to mandated mask wearing will not be granted on the basis of one’s personal choice or preference.
According to the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, there are very few medical conditions that warrant an exception to the mandated wearing of a non-medical mask. Public Health advises that inappropriate exceptions to mandated mask wearing have the potential to inadvertently compromise the overall public health measures implemented in schools to mitigate risk to all and to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba schools and communities. Public Health further states, “In general, most people with underlying medical conditions can safely wear a mask. There is no evidence that wearing a mask will worsen an underlying medical condition.”
We recognize this will be a time of adapting to many new proactive and preventative measures that are designed to support the health and safety of our students, staff and community. Your continued support is greatly appreciated as we together navigate the changes brought about by this pandemic.
See also Updated Mandatory Mask Use letter from GVSD: Letter_re_Mask_Use-Sept_22_2020_rev.pdf