Mandatory masking coming to high schools in Regina and Saskatoon

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Masking will be required inside high schools in Regina and Saskatoon starting Tuesday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Masking will be required inside high schools in Regina and Saskatoon starting Tuesday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Regina and Saskatoon high schools will soon require all students and staff to wear masks indoors.

The Regina changes were announced Friday morning by the local Catholic and public school divisions. The new policy takes effect Tuesday, and applies to all division buildings and transportation.

On Friday afternoon, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division and Saskatoon Public School Division both announced they were also extending masking requirements to include high schools starting Tuesday. Masks are required indoors for students, staff and visitors in all schools and facilities overseen by those divisions.

Regina Catholic School Division official Twylla West said the changes were made after speaking with local medical health officers and others.

"What we want is all of our staff and students to be with us. We want them to be in classes and on the football field and on the drama stage and reconnecting with their friends. We need the co-operation of all of our stakeholders," West said.

Masks were already mandatory for elementary school students in the province's two largest cities and in other divisions across the province. Children under 12 years of age are not eligible for vaccination.

Vaccination or testing is not mandatory for teachers or staff in any Saskatchewan school division, and officials say there are no changes planned on that front. Voices within the health-care and education systems have been calling for these measures to keep staff and students safe.

Veronica Baker of Saskatoon Public Schools said the division spoke with its lawyer and was told a vaccine mandate can't be imposed by a school division without a provincial government health order.

Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman have announced mandatory vaccination or testing for certain health workers, but not educators.

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