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Masking Requirements

Student Masking

All students, Kindergarten-Grade 12, are required to wear a mask while in school buildings and on student transportation AND outside if a physical distance of 2m cannot be maintained.






Staff Masking

Based on the revised direction from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and advice from the Ministry of Labour, the following are the Board’s expectations of the use of PPE in Board sites:

  • In addition to the level 1 or level 2 masks already provided, the ministry will also be supplying staff with the option of a non-fit-tested N95 mask. Staff will have the option to wear either the medical/surgical masks or the non-fit-tested N95 masks. Cloth masks continue to not be appropriate for staff in a school setting.
  • The existing requirement for staff that perform aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMP) to wear a fitted N95 does not change.
  • In all situations, while inside the school, it is the expectation that staff will wear either a medical/surgical mask or a non-fit-tested N95 mask provided by the Board. Masks may be removed while eating/drinking and when physical distancing is achieved. For further clarity, cloth masks are not appropriate for staff in a school setting.
  • In addition, eye protection (face shield, goggles, or safety glasses) is required when physical distancing cannot be achieved. Prescription reading or sunglasses are not an appropriate replacement for face shields, goggles, or safety glasses. Face shields, goggles, or safety glasses are placed over top of your glasses.
  • Staff supervising students outside, are expected to have either their medical/surgical mask or a non-fit-tested N95 mask and eye protection on their person in the event they must respond to a situation where the 2 metres (or 6 feet) of distancing is compromised.
  • EAs, or those with increased levels of contact with students, may still require the use gowns or other forms of PPE based on their interaction with students and the risk of splatter or droplet exposure (i.e., spitting, toileting, etc.). It will depend on the activity and the level of need their student(s) may have. There may be times where EAs will have the full garment of PPE for the entire day. 
  • Staff supervising students in the isolation room will be required to wear either a medical/surgical mask or a non-fit-tested N95 mask, face shield as eye protection, gown, and gloves. Goggles or safety glasses are not appropriate in this situation.
  • The PPE expectations apply to any staff (itinerant, SOs, ITS Technicians, teacher candidates, emergency instructors, etc.) that enter a school site.
  • At non-school sites, while inside the building, it is the expectation that staff will wear a face covering, at a minimum. Eye protection (face shield, goggles, or safety glasses) is also encouraged when physical distancing cannot be achieved.

Visitor and Volunteer Masking

All visitors (including parents/guardians) and volunteers must adhere to Staff Masking and Personal Protective Equipment Guidelines and Expectations of the Board. Visitors/spectators (if permitted) to athletic events must follow protocols specific to the event location. See Athletics (During COVID-19) for details.

Mask Exemptions for Students

The Board will permit reasonable and necessary exceptions for mask/PPE requirements for medical conditions. If an individual requires a mask exemption, they must make the request in writing to the school principal or site administrator. The written request MUST be accompanied by medical documentation supporting the exemption, due to a medical condition, from a family physician or nurse practitioner

The medical documentation and the request will be reviewed by the school administrator (principal) and the superintendent to determine what accommodations or exemptions will be offered.

The documentation that accompanies the request for an exemption is valid for one school year (September 1 - August 31). The exemption request process must be repeated annually if the medical condition does not change and a subsequent exemption is required.

Mask Exemptions for Staff

Only in rare circumstances, will the Board permit a reasonable and necessary exemption for mask/PPE requirements under its obligation to provide medical accommodations staff. If an employee requires a mask exemption as a medical accommodation, the written request MUST be accompanied by supporting medical documentation and will be adjudicated case by case, by the Disability Management department. For any approved exemption, other safety measures and protocol will be put in place. Staff should reference the internal memo for details.

Exempt Individuals - Please Be Kind

If you see someone who is not wearing a mask, please remember that some individuals have valid medical reasons that prevent them from wearing masks. Please remember to be kind, refrain from judging, and maintain your physical distance.

Medical professionals determine mask exemptions, not BHNCDSB staff, parents, family members or students.

  • Be kind. These are stressful times. Support one another and work together to help keep everyone safe.
  • Understand that some people cannot wear masks. Trust and assume goodness.
  • School Administrators are aware of all mask exemptions and work closely with public health to offer alternatives to individual who are medically exempt.
  • Please refrain from offering opinions or advice in respect to masking and/or vaccinations. Public health and family physicians/nurse practitioners are the professionals we take direction from.