The Ontario Education Ministry announced that masks are no longer needed in schools as a safety measure for COVID.
“…based on the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, masks will not be required for students, staff and visitors in schools, school board offices, or on student transportation…” said Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor.
This isn’t a change, as Ontario lifted the mandate in March. But it’s a memo for those who were begging for mask mandates to return —including media — that masks aren’t coming back.
Naylor then attempted to get ahead of the expected backlash by those who love mandates and promised a judgement-free zone should they continue to wear one or not.
She also made a subtle argument about the decision by referencing the impact that masks have had on children’s development.
“The Ministry of Education remains committed to providing students with a normal return to school and to supporting an enriching school experience that enables academic success and lets students take advantage of the activities and programs that enhance classroom learning and build social and life skills,” Naylor said.
Indeed, an ongoing study suggests children have taken a hit on their development, including “significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic.”
Of course, masks aren’t solely responsible for whatever deficits exist, but additional research on the impact of mask-wearing on development is undoubtedly warranted.
On top of the possible negative impact on development, some studies show masks didn’t help reduce the transmission and spread of the virus.
The Counter Signal has previously reported on one that covered 35 European countries (602 million people), which concluded that wearing COVID masks did not reduce transmission or deaths and may have even exasperated the virus.
A separate study found that microplastics in face masks could have worsened the virus and caused other health problems.
Time will tell if Ontario’s decision will be permanent or if every new “wave” will require another memo.