February 28, 2022 – As leaders in children’s health, we know that masking is an important layer of protection to prevent COVID-19 and has prevented widespread transmission in school settings. While there have been recent calls to remove this public health measure, now is not the time. Masking in indoor school settings is still required to protect children and their families.
Case counts and hospitalizations while on the decline, remain high. Many children remain unvaccinated. Young children are still ineligible. The evidence is clear: Masking helps prevent transmission not only at school but prevents kids from then spreading COVID at home to unvaccinated siblings, family or community members.
While we remain optimistic that this measure can be adjusted soon, we ask that the government continue to require masking in schools to protect children’s health. An increase in vaccination rates for children aged 5–11 and boosters for 12–17, which remain lower in Ontario than in most of Canada, would be one way to do this. As soon as the evidence suggests otherwise—and we rely on evidence to make our recommendations—then alternatives can be considered.
For now, let’s ensure kids remain as healthy as they can in schools by keeping their masks on.
About the Children’s Health Coalition: The Children’s Health Coalition is a collective of children’s health organizations made up of CHEO, Children’s Hospital – London Health Sciences Centre, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, Empowered Kids Ontario, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Kids Health Alliance, McMaster Children’s Hospital, and SickKids.