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Thunder Bay kindergarten students must wear masks after the Christmas break

The policy for Year One and Year Two students takes effect Jan. 3.

THUNDER BAY — When Kindergarten students return to class after the Christmas holidays, they must wear masks to reduce the risk of acquiring or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Lakehead Public Schools and the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board announced the policy Monday.

It takes effect Jan. 3, 2022.

Up to now, the mask mandate applied to other grades, but it was only recommended that Kindergarten students wear masks.

In a joint statement, the two boards said the change is the result of a recent increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases impacting Kindergarten students.

"Including Kindergarten Year One and Year Two in our masking protocol will help keep our youngest learners protected and as safe as possible," said Lakehead Public Schools' director of education Ian MacRae.

The director of the Thunder Bay Catholic board, Pino Tassone, said masks in kindergarten will minimize the chance of infection and lower the potential for school-wide outbreaks.

Under the policy, students who are unable to maintain physical distance from others during outdoor breaks are asked to keep their mask on.

If that's not possible, mask breaks may be taken outside while students are with members of their cohort.

Parents who provide masks for their children are requested to ensure they have them each day.

Should a replacement mask be required at school, the school will have extra masks on hand.

The school boards advised parents to refer to an online fact sheet that contains tips to support students in wearing masks or face coverings in school.

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