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To: TDSB Director Colleen Russell-Rawlins

Tell TDSB: Reinstate Universal Masking to Protect Children and Communities

Tell TDSB: Reinstate Universal Masking to Protect Children and Communities

Dear Director Russell-Rawlins,

We are parents, caregivers, and families. We are watching in fear and frustration as Omicron BA.2 has begun to rip through our children’s classrooms and our communities. BA.2 is as contagious as measles, according to former WHO epidemiologist Adrian Esterman, and without the proper protections in place, our school communities will soon likely experience exponential spread of the virus. Indeed, Dr. Peter Juni, Head of the Ontario Science Table has been clear that given this new variant, local mask mandates were lifted too soon. That is why we want the TDSB to reinstate a mask mandate, until at least the end of this sixth wave.

We have two years of data from around the world that proves universal masking to be an important and accessible mitigation strategy against exponential spread of Covid-19. Therefore, it’s no mystery that case numbers in Ontario are spiking in the wake of the provincial government’s irresponsible decision to strip us of public protections against the virus. We recognize that the TDSB has been put into a difficult position by our provincial and municipal public health authorities. However, the health – and in some cases, lives – of our children and school community members is at stake.

Even if BA.2 is mild in most vaccinated children, this is not the case for every child – and indeed, we are already seeing a rise in pediatric hospitalizations. There are children, teachers, and school workers and in the community who are immunocompromised. There are also many children who are unvaccinated, whether because they are under 5 or for other reasons. Some children will go on to develop long Covid, regardless of pre-existing health conditions or vaccination status. And despite the fact that the pandemic has raged on for two years, we still don’t know what the long-term effects of the virus are. This is a time for courage and compassion – not for taking unnecessary risks.

The lack of public health protection makes us all vulnerable. Please do the right thing and reinstate a schoolwide mask mandate.

Why is this important?

Omicron subvariant BA.2 is as contagious as measles. Even if its effects are mild most vaccinated children, this is not the case for every child – and indeed, we are already seeing a rise in pediatric hospitalizations. There are children, teachers, and school workers and in the community who are immunocompromised. There are also many children who are unvaccinated, whether because they are under 5 or for other reasons. Some children will go on to develop long Covid, regardless of pre-existing health conditions or vaccination status. And despite the fact that the pandemic has raged on for two years, we still don’t know what the long-term effects of the virus are.

This is a time for courage and compassion – not for taking unnecessary risks. Universal masking is an effective and accessible safety measure for slowing the spread of BA.2.

Updates

2022-04-13 16:03:09 -0400

100 signatures reached

2022-04-13 15:17:29 -0400

50 signatures reached

2022-04-13 14:56:02 -0400

25 signatures reached

2022-04-13 14:37:53 -0400

10 signatures reached