Mandatory masking still TBD for upcoming school year

·1 min read

It remains to be seen if mandatory masks will feature at high schools this year as the return to class nears a month away.

“The Science Table has recommended to the province that if vaccination rates are sufficiently high then masks should not be necessary for students,” says Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby. But he adds “That’s a big ‘if’ with regard to the vaccination rates.”

That’s because Chatham-Kent’s 12-17 year olds are only half vaccinated so far. Just 30 per cent have both doses.

Province wide 64.6 per cent of the young age group has one dose and 41 per cent are fully vaxxed.

Colby says “the uptake has not been as high… as we would like to see,” in the local youth group, though “I’m certain that we’ll be much higher than that before school starts.” He says there’s still a decent supply of kids getting their jab at the Bradley Centre’s vaccination site.

But if the rates of kids coming to the clinic don’t improve by September, Colby says the vaccine option will come to them. “We are looking at the options of taking a mobile vaccination clinic to the schools, absolutely,” says Colby.

Testing continues in an attempt to approve a vaccine for kids under 12.

The Science Table says even if masks aren’t mandatory they may still be recommended, especially based on vaccination status or variant prevalence in each region.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

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