What these Manitoba universities and colleges are doing about face masks

By | August 12, 2020

WINNIPEG — With the fall term around the corner, post-secondary institutions in Manitoba are taking different approaches when it comes to face masks.

On Wednesday, Brandon University announced effective immediately anyone inside the campus and in the company of other people will be required to wear a mask – this includes working spaces, hallways, and common areas.

“With the recent increase in Covid-19 cases here in Brandon, we remain committed to the safety of our community,” the university said in a news release. “Wearing masks helps reduce viral transmission and keep each other safe.”

The school said it has ordered cloth reusable masks and each faculty, staff, as well as all students required to be on campus for the rest of summer and fall, will receive one.

Assiniboine Community College has not gone as far as making masks mandatory, but on Wednesday it announced its campuses will now be ‘mask expected’ environments.

“Essentially now we are expecting everybody who comes to campus will wear a mask or some form of face-covering or face shield,” Mark Frison, president of the college, told CTV News.

He said under the new policy, the college will not deny access to the campus and will not discipline any students who don’t comply.

“The expectation is largely the same – we expect folks to comply, and the tools we plan to use to encourage that are the best ones at our disposal as an institution, which is education.”

He said each program will have its own set of safe work procedures and personal protective equipment depending on the industry.

A spokesperson from the University of Manitoba said the U of M does not have any similar policies regarding facemasks.

Red River College said mask use is voluntary, but added the only instance where a mask is required on campus is when physical distancing cannot happen due to hands-on training or evaluations, such as in many healthcare programs.

“As always, we will take our lead from public health regarding the use of masks, and if the decision is made to make masks a requirement, we’re prepared for that and we will make them available for both staff and students,” Conor Lloyd, director of college and public relations at RRC, told CTV News in an email.

“If anyone coming to campus is more comfortable wearing a mask we would certainly encourage that and will continue to encourage our College community to always be respectful and supportive of the measures our staff and students take to ensure for their own safety as well.”

The University of Winnipeg told CTV News that it is following the advice of the provincial government and will be recommending the use of non-medical face masks on campus, but they are not mandated.

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