Ontario will no longer mandate face mask use in schools as of March 21, also bringing an end to COVID-19 cohorting and physical distancing requirements.

The province is also no longer requiring on-site verification of screening for all children, students and staff

“It seems really premature,” said Karen Brown, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO.)

“We’re removing another key layer of protection – which is masking to slow down the spread. We’re concerned that our members are going to be exposed,” said Brown.

She added, ETFO will encourage members who “are feeling vulnerable” to continue to wear their masks in school.

ER physician Dr. Lisa Salamon questions the timing of the decision by the Ford government.

The Children’s Health Coalition, a collective of children’s health organizations in Ontario released a statement noting it would have preferred to have waited until two weeks after March break.