On Monday, November 14, 2022, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Dr. Kieran Moore, shared information with Ontarians concerning the rise of cases of influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 across the province.
Dr. Moore has strongly recommended that Ontarians use the protective strategies available to them, including wearing masks indoors.
There is no provincial mask mandate.
Even prior to the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, it has been the practice of Waterloo Region’s Catholic schools to follow the guidance of the Chief Medical Officer — as well as that of our own Region of Waterloo Public Health officials — when it comes to dealing with communicable diseases in schools.
While masking is not mandated, our schools are now and will remain, mask-friendly spaces, and we encourage students and staff to wear masks indoors during the rise in cases we are currently experiencing.
The decision to wear a mask remains a personal choice. However, as Dr. Moore notes, it is a way to support partners in our healthcare system as they respond to an increase in pressures caused by the current increase in respiratory illnesses in our communities.
As we move into the winter months, please keep in mind:
- Parents, students, and staff are reminded to stay home if feeling unwell and only return when symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours if you are experiencing nausea, vomiting, or have diarrhea). Those recovering from illness or with symptoms should continue to mask for ten days from onset of symptoms. Please review the daily Ontario School Screening Tool for common symptoms and specific guidance when responding to your individual circumstances. https://www.ontario.ca/school-screening/
- Students and staff are encouraged to wear a mask when indoors – particularly when in close contact with others — to reduce the opportunity to spread respiratory illness. The decision to mask remains a personal choice, and all individuals will be afforded the same respect in our classrooms and workspaces.
- Staff will continue to have access to personal protective equipment at school.
- Masks continue to be available to all students upon request.
- Students and staff are asked to continue practicing good hand hygiene (e.g., hand washing, sanitizing) and be sure to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (e.g., cough/sneeze into your elbow).
- Dr. Moore has also suggested that Ontarians consider getting their flu shot and COVID vaccine/booster.
Thank you for your support and cooperation in keeping our schools and communities safe and healthy.