WINNIPEG — On Wednesday, the provincial government announced that masks will be mandatory for all students from grades four to 12, when physical distancing isn’t possible.
With the school year just over two weeks away, school divisions in the city are preparing for how they will handle the mask situation.
ST. JAMES-ASSINIBOIA SCHOOL DIVISION
For parents who have kids going to school in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, masks will be provided by the school division.
All students between grades four and 12 will receive two reusable masks at no charge.
“Schools will communicate a plan for the distribution of facemasks prior to the start of school during the week of August 26- September 1, 2020. This is to accommodate families who wish to pick-up facemasks before school starts and for students who will ride the bus on the first day of school,” a statement said on the school division’s website.
It is also being recommended that students in other grades wear masks as well, and students in multi-grade classes will all be required to wear masks and they will be provided to all students.
SEVEN OAKS SCHOOL DIVISION
Students in the Seven Oaks School Division (SOSD) will also be provided masks.
The school division said on its website that reusable masks will be given to students without charge.
“Disposable masks will be available on buses and in classrooms for students who forget to bring their mask,” the school division noted.
The SOSD also said younger students can wear masks if they wish.
PEMBINA TRAILS SCHOOL DIVISION
Unlike the other two school divisions, Pembina Trails School Division will not be providing masks to students.
However, if students do show up without a mask, the school division said on its website that it will have a limited amount available.
“Families are asked to purchase non-medical masks, as part of this year’s school supply list,” the school division said.
RIVER EAST TRANSCONA SCHOOL DIVISION
Students and parents in the River East Transcona School Division are in a similar boat as those in the Pembina Trails School Division.
“Extra masks will be made available at all schools throughout the school year for those who do not have their own,” the school division said in its return to school guidelines.
The school division is also encouraging students younger than grade four to wear masks as well.
LOUIS-RIEL SCHOOL DIVISION
The Louis-Riel School Division is still finalizing mask plans for the year.
“We will be providing masks,” said Christian Michalik, who is the superintendent for the school division. “Our desire is to provide masks because the masks are mandated.”
Michalik said the division wants to provide reusable masks, and are working through its plan with the provincial government.
He added the school division provides updates to parents daily and when a decision has been made about how many masks will be supplied, everyone in the division will know right away.
Michalik also noted students will be given a disposable mask if they forget to bring their own to school.
As part of this school year, Michalik said another key point will be to continue to educate students and parents on the importance of masks.
CTV News has reached out to the Winnipeg School Division for comment on its mask plan as there isn’t currently anything listed on the school division’s website.
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