In a very close vote, six trustees from Ottawa’s largest school board voted in favor of new school trustee Dr. Nile Kaplan Myrth, and six were against. Result: The application was finally rejected and staff and students will not be required to wear masks at school this winter.
Keep in mind that the motion barred wearing a face covering in different situations: for the practice of music, performing arts and sports, and for lunch breaks and snacks.
DR Kaplan Myrth had made this proposal due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the region, but also influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, as well as the difficulties observed in the intensive care unit at Ottawa Children’s Hospital CHEO .
The application also cited strong recommendations from local health officials and Dr. Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore to wear a mask indoors.
The vote took place after long discussions on Thursday evening between the 12 board members.
Eventually, Alysha Aziz, Justin Bell, Catherine Milburn, Amanda Presley, Lyra Evans and dr. Kaplan Myrth voted for it while Donna Blackburn, Donna Dickson, Jennifer Jennekens, Matthew Lee, Suzanne Nash and Lynn Scott against it.
The meeting was held virtually to avoid the excesses observed last Tuesday.
Directors split, motion challenged
After hours of going through the motion line by line, it was clear that school trustees were divided on the issue, citing community comments and received backlash, among other things.
After these discussions, the amended proposal made exceptions for everyone
which a mask would cause difficulties, and that people not wearing a mask will not be suspended or sanctioned. It was also explained that educators were not expected
take other steps to apply the mask.
Some advisors have begun to question the appropriateness of such a loose mandate.
It’s no longer mandatorysaid Matthew Lee.
[La motion] is not practical and really does not help to achieve population-wide results.
Same story on the side of Donna Blackburnwho urged his colleagues to reject the application.
We caused a stir in the communityshe said, adding that it’s up to health officials to enforce the masks.
You don’t choose to exercise that power, and there’s a reason for that.
On the other side is the CEO Lyra Evans supported the proposal.
I think this motion is reasonable, a reasonable compromiseshe explained.
This movement has the potential to have a positive impact. We have heard again and again that every little counts.
In her closing words, Dr. Kaplan Myrth predicted the motion would fail but urged his colleagues to reflect on the plight of Ottawa’s vulnerable population.
Sometimes it is necessary to make difficult decisionsshe started.
We must do what is difficult for the most vulnerable in our community, even if we lose the support of some people.
The students disagree
Student administrators, whose votes are not officially counted, voted against wearing masks, saying their peers were concerned about the wording
very vague the movement.
It’s just a strong recommendationsaid Tabarak Al-Delaimi.
Calling this an obligation is likely to lead to incredible confusion and unnecessary conflict.
After a few months of no measures being taken, the brutal reinstatement [de cette obligation] will certainly create tensions between students – those who comply and those who don’t – and tensions between students and facultyadded student Antong Hou.
In a message posted on Twitterthe Ottawa-Carleton District School Board However, he did mention that he encourages the community to follow Ottawa Public Health recommendations, including wearing a mask in indoor public spaces.
Ontario Secretary of Education Stephen Lecce says the government will respect parents’ decision and investments have been made to improve ventilation in all schools.
With information from CBC and The Canadian Press news