Thursday is a day of action for teachers who want to wear better quality masks in the classroom.
Teachers in York Region were threatened with disciplinary action for wearing more protective masks.
It is scientifically proven that N95 masks are better at filtering out at least 95 per cent of airborne particles, including large and small particles.
Right now there are a patchwork of policies at school boards across the province regarding masks.
Some boards allow teachers to wear higher-quality masks such as an N95, while other boards insist on teachers wearing the surgical masks.
The confusion seems to stem from a chain of command issue.
When asked if teachers can wear their own N95 masks, some boards said staff must wear the provided surgical masks per provincial guidance.
However, the message from the province is different and puts the issue on local health units.
Statement from Ministry of Education spokesperson:
“On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario has implemented some of the most comprehensive masking policies for students and staff in the country, supporting safer schools.
Ontario has made high quality three-ply masks available for students and a full-complement of PPE, including surgical grade masks, goggles, gloves, and face shields. Local public health units have the authority to implement additional masking measures if local indicators require it.”
Durham Radio News reached out for comments from the Durham District School Board (DDSB), Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) and Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB).
A spokesperson for KPRDSB says staff are welcome to wear N95 masks.
DDSB issued this statement:
The safety and well-being of students and staff is a priority for the DDSB. The Ministry of Education provides the DDSB with 3-layer medical masks for all educational workers as per provincial guidance and also offers eye protection (including face shields) for staff seeking additional protection. We continue to seek advice from medical professionals including the Ministry of Health and the Durham Region Health Department on any additional measures that can be taken.
PVNCCDSB and DCDSB did not respond to our request for comments.
Teachers are also being asked on Thursday to snap a selfie in a superior-quality mask and use the hashtag #betterMasksOct14.