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JK-3 students no longer exempt from rule

Masks a must on buses
Posted on 12/02/2020
kid with mask

Elementary students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3 will now have to wear a face mask when they ride the bus to school.

 The Board Directors of the Windsor-Essex Student Transportation Services (WESTS) recently approved a motion to establish a new protocol mandating that all students, regardless of what grade they are in, will have to wear a mask when riding any board provided transportation.

 Until now, students in JK to Grade 3 had been exempt from any requirement to wear a face mask while riding a school bus, in keeping with guidelines from the provincial government which state that face coverings are not mandatory for students in those grades while they are in school.

 The motion says the new protocol goes into effect immediately, but includes a transition period until full enforcement on January 1, 2021.

 “We understand that it may take some time for students and their families to implement the new requirement,” said Gabrielle McMillan, General Manager of WESTS.  “Communication through our website and the boards’ social media platforms will inform students and their families of the new protocol. Beginning in the new year, children will not be able to board the bus unless they are wearing a face mask. However, we know that many of these students are already wearing masks and expect that they will begin complying with the new protocol sooner rather than later.” 

 The rule change was initiated by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board which approved a motion on September 29 asking WESTS to change its protocols to mandate that all students would be required to wear a mask. The Greater Essex County School Board approved a similar motion on November 17. Conseil scolaire Viamonde had already required all students to wear masks when riding school buses.

 WESTS is a consortium formed by the school boards, to manage and administer student transportation. Its bus operators provide transportation services to the Greater Essex County District School Board, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire Catholique Providence.

 All four school boards affected by the change will begin communicating details about it to their school communities as soon as possible.

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