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Across Canada, students and staff are gearing up to head back to the classroom; however, unlike in recent years, face masks are no longer mandatory in most public and private schools.
Nevertheless, if you or a loved one is immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or nervous about back-to-school germs, you may find yourself searching for a kid-friendly mask come September.
What are the current rules and regulations around face masks and vaccinations for kids in school in Canada?
As of July 14, 2022, Health Canada approved the Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to five years old. As of July 22, nearly 56 per cent of children aged five to 11 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Across Canada, 85 per cent of the total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, there are no overarching vaccine mandates for children in Canada. However, certain sectors still have their own masking and vaccine requirements. Transport Canada, for example, still requires face masks when boarding a flight or train in Canada. While not mandated, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that all children six months of age and older be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In general, face masks are no longer required to attend in-person learning. Nevertheless, it's important to double-check your provincial mask requirements and exceptions before heading to class.
COVID-19: Health and safety measures at schools by jurisdiction
Here are the current health and safety measures across Canada, as of Aug. 17.
While provincial health systems no longer mandate face masks in the classroom, for parents and students who prefer to cover up, dozens of terrific options are still available. According to reviewers, these are some of the best non-medical face masks for children in 2022.
Wearing a non-medical face mask does not replace hygiene standards or guarantee protection from COVID-19. You should still avoid touching your face, wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap and practice social distancing.
According to reviewers, these are the best face masks for kids in Canada in 2022
These three-layer face masks are made of 100 per cent cotton and come backed by a whopping 1,600 reviews. The middle layer is a filter pocket that can be used to add a disposable filter insert, if desired.
These three-layer cotton face masks are UV-resistant and comfortable for all-day wear. Plus, with design options including "Frozen," "Spiderman," and Disney graphics, your kids won't mind keeping them on throughout the day.
Collecting more than 17,000 ratings, these child-friendly face masks have won the coveted spot of "Amazon's Choice" for kid's face masks. The four-ply non-medical masks are available in six designs, including a transportation-themed pack.
Ideal for older children and teenagers, this 10-pack of N95 masks has earned over 13,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers who call it a "great product, full stop."
This 24-pack of disposable face masks comes with three layers of protection: non-woven filter ply + fiber ply + soft cotton. The pack has earned nearly 4,500 reviews from Amazon shoppers and an average rating of 4.4 stars.
This non-medical adjustable face shield visor is made from anti-fog PET material and is designed to cushion the forehead with a soft sponge interior. "My five-year-old son wears this to school every day and it perfectly covers his face," writes one reviewer.
An assortment of five colours comes in each pack of these comfortable non-medical face masks. "These are the only masks my kids wear," writes one parent. "They fit nicely and are adjustable."
A great option for glasses-wearers, this fog-free face mask is made from double-layered 100 per cent Egyptian cotton and is available in more than 60 colours and prints.
These kid-friendly face shields are built with sturdy, durable, and powerful PET-based materials and have earned an average rating of 4.5 stars from Amazon reviewers. "Comfortable, well made, and good protection!" Raves one shopper.
According to one Etsy shopper, this cotton face mask is "literally perfect." Even with a "small face," the mask "fit me perfectly," they write. Adding, the quality is "excellent" and the designs are "beautiful."
Available in a two-pack, four-pack, and ten-pack, parents say this top-rated face shield is a "comfortable option" for school-aged children. "The kids feel like superheroes in their shields," writes one reviewer.
With more than 2,100 reviews backing it, parents describe this over-the-head face mask as "nice and soft" and say "the head strap seems to be much easier for the kiddo to keep on than ear straps." The kid-friendly mask comes in a variety of sizes and patterns.
This non-medical face covering is designed for children ages four to 12 and is made from soft, breathable cotton.