College doesn’t need to implement mask mandate right now, president says

As cases for respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 are on the rise, there has been a lot of discussion on whether masking mandates should return in Ontario schools. At At Algonquin College, it is unlikely students and staff will be required to mask up anytime soon. “We’re not at this stage yet where we need […]
Photo: Elio Elia
“I’m not saying it be necessary in more open spaces, but in enclosed areas such as schools it would be best to bring masking back," said Dr. Assad Al-Hindawi.

As cases for respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 are on the rise, there has been a lot of discussion on whether masking mandates should return in Ontario schools.

At At Algonquin College, it is unlikely students and staff will be required to mask up anytime soon.

“We’re not at this stage yet where we need to make this a mandate. Mandates have a connotation and it brings in people certain feelings,” Algonquin College president Claude Brulé said at a press conference at the college on Nov. 18.

Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario Dr. Kieran Moore has recently recommended indoor masking for Ontario citizens, but no provincial mandate has been set as of yet.

In Ottawa specifically, a motion to introduce mandatory masking in schools fell through after a 6-6 vote on the subject by the trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on Nov. 24. This came after two nights of debates and weeks of meetings at the OCDSB, which still recommends students, teachers and staff wear masks when attending school.

According to Algonquin College family physician Dr. Assad Al-Hindawi, masking should make a return to schools so that the health services can be relieved from the overwhelming amount of cases.

“There is a massive rise in COVID-19 cases and other respiratory illnesses such as influenza across Ontario, and this is exhausting the health services in Ontario,” said Dr. Al-Hindawi.

“With this in mind, there is evidence to support that masking helps reduce the cases, and therefore I think people wearing masks indoors would be beneficial to the health services of Ontario,” he continued.

“I’m not saying it be necessary in more open spaces, but in enclosed areas such as schools it would be best to bring masking back.”

Despite the motion failing at the OCDSB, masking is likely a topic that will continue to be debated.

Brulé said the college makes decisions based on the data available and it’s comfortable with its decisions thus far.

“For me, I would want this to be something that comes from the province or from Ottawa Public Health. We would want make sure we on solid footing before we invoke something like that,” Brulé said.

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