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Dr. Mercer writes in support of school board reopening plan

Mercer wrote in a letter that she is particularly pleased to see mandatory masks for all students and staff
Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday file photo

GUELPH-WELLINGTON – WDG Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health has penned a letter in support of the UGDSB’s reopening plan and particularly the move to mandatory masks for all grade-levels.

Dr. Nicola Mercer said in a letter posted to the public health website that she had advocated for mandating masks for students in Grade 1 and encouraged them for kindergarteners. 

“I was pleased to see Upper Grand District School Board take the step of mandating masks for all students and staff at their meeting yesterday,” Mercer wrote. 

Mercer said public health has been working with the school boards regarding COVID-19 since February and the response to the pandemic will remain their focus going into the school year.

“Supporting schools throughout our region will be the largest single program undertaken by Public Health this fall,” Mercer wrote. “We are adding nursing positions thanks to newly announced funding from the provincial government. Those new staff will join current public health professionals to create a team that will directly support each individual school in our region.”

She stressed in her letter that a safe school reopening is the responsibility of the entire community to keep transmission rates low. 

“Low infection rates will mean less chance of infections in our schools and more resources to manage outbreaks of the virus,” Mercer wrote, continuing to stress the ongoing message of hand hygiene, physical distancing and face coverings. 

“Plans to safely reopen our schools can only be as effective as our commitment to tackling COVID-19 together.”