Some Ontario Students Are Planning A Walkout Over Mask Mandates Lifting In Schools

Students will reportedly walk out on March 21 at 11 a.m.

Toronto Staff Writer
Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Right: Ontario school bus.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Right: Ontario school bus.

Ontario is set to lift most mask mandates on March 21, including school mask requirements, but some students aren't ready to let go.

Ontario Students For COVID Safety, a student-run organization, has planned a school walkout across Ontario on March 21 at 11 a.m. to protest the lifting restrictions.

The organization listed its demands in an Instagram post on March 16.

Students are calling for mask mandates to remain in schools, EQAO and another standardized test to be cancelled for the year, PCR tests to be provided for staff and students and COVID-19 cases in schools to continue to be reported.

"In accordance with the recommendations of the Children's Health Coalition, we demand that mask mandates are kept in school to reduce transmission in crowded indoor spaces and protect vulnerable community members," reads the statement.

When it comes to standardized testing, the organization claims that because of "learning disruptions" from COVID-19 over the last two years, standardized tests would be "inappropriate."

"During an already stressful time, students' mental health should not be forced to undergo more anxiety by nerve-racking tests."

Ontario Students For COVID Safety's petition addressed to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce calls to further increase COVID-19 safety in schools and currently has 1,930 signatures toward their goal of 2,500.

The petition asks that the provincial government continue to provide COVID-19 data, supply students with N95 or KN95 masks, require students who have or are exposed to COVID-19 to test negative before returning to school, allocate funding to "emergency virtual schools" and finish installing air filtration systems in classrooms.

Narcity reached out to the Toronto District School Board for comment, but they did not respond in time for publication.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Brooke Houghton
Toronto Staff Writer
Brooke Houghton is a Staff Writer for Narcity Canada's Ontario Desk focused on celebrity news and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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