I was ready to be very proud of my former employer today. There was a motion put forward by Trustee Julia Burgess to require students up to Grade 3 to wear facemasks while at school in addition to those already wearing them in Grades 4-8 and then in secondary school.
Previously, the transportation system made wearing masks on school buses for all students mandatory.
Other school districts in the province have already made this new approach mandatory so it’s not like they would have been the first school district to do so.
Masks remain a contentious isssue as we all know. It’s not uncommon to hear about anti-mask demonstrations by people opposing the enforcement of any rules requiring people to wear them. Indeed the messaging around masks, particularly in the beginning was mixed. I think we all realize now that the point was to stop a run on masks like there was a run on toilet paper. Over the past months, we’ve come to realize that they are there not necessarily for your protection, but for the protection of others from you.
Rules about their wear have come up in many places. In our community with its fabulous River Lights display which is all in open parks, face masks are mandatory between 5pm and 11pm. There are no boycotts or picketers; just people that are following the rules for the safety of others. In these cooler evenings, dog walkers who wear glasses just become used to fogging up. One of the things that we know from the early days of all this is that no masks promote the spread of the virus.
We know that the numbers in Essex County are a challenge. Today’s total was 127 new cases. Fingers are pointed at farms, essential workers that work in Michigan (estimated at 6000 daily) and localized breakouts. The breakout at Frank Begley Public School made provincial news. Daily, we hear of local schools where cases have been identified.
I’ll be honest; I thought that the trustee’s motion was genius and was something that everyone could get their head around. You know, doing good by being good.
The motion was withdrawn before trustees had the opportunity to weigh in.
At this point, there are no further details about this that I can find.
With the high numbers reported today, the fear around here is that the area may get bumped higher in the provincial lockdown scheme. If it gets announced Friday as per usual with this government with a starting date of Monday, there will be a rush on Christmas shopping. That’s the last thing we need.
The original plans for reopening in the province had all kinds of loopholes, exceptions, and new definitions of what “essential” is. I saw an extension of masks on the bus to masks all day as a natural and logical move.
It turns out that I was wrong.