EMSB to consider making masks mandatory in classrooms for all grades
Montreal, August 22, 2021- After consulting with stakeholders, members of the English Montreal School Board Council of Commissioners has announced their intention to consider a resolution at a September 1 meeting to make masks necessary in classrooms for all grades in the youth and adult sectors.
The first day of class in the youth sector is on Tuesday, August 31. EMSB Chair Joe Ortona, Vice-Chair Agostino Cannavino and Parent Commissioner Maria Corsi met with leadership from the EMSB Parents Committee last week. There was a clear consensus that the Minister of Education’s announcement that masks would not be required in classrooms has created a tremendous amount of anxiety. EMSB Director General Nicholas Katalifos added that this is a matter of safety for all staff and students.
“I am confident that the Minister will in fact mandate masks in classrooms before school starts,” said Mr. Ortona. “However, with just a week to go we felt it was necessary to reassure our parents that we hear their concerns. The Delta variant and the fact that elementary school children cannot get vaccinated yet has everyone worried. We strongly encourage the wearing of masks for the first two days of school until the Council can discuss this in more detail.”
Mr. Ortona added that Council members feel strongly that classroom bubbles should also remain in place and the continuation of a hybrid attendance model for high schools must be considered as well. “The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over,” said Mr. Ortona. “When this Council first took office last November we immediately decided to order air purifiers for school buildings that did not have mechanical ventilation.”
Mr. Ortona said the EMSB will continue to lobby the government to provide the necessary funding to offer a virtual school.
About the English Montreal School Board
With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, our network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.
Michael J. Cohen
Manager, Marketing and Communications
English Montreal School Board
514.483.7200 ext. 7243