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Child and youth advocate recommends masks go back on in N.B. schools


A report released Friday by the office of the New Brunswick Child, Youth and Seniors Advocate recommends the province review the mask mandate in schools.

The document says the province decided to eliminate masking without providing evidence it was safe to do so.

And while masks have been off at schools in the province for more than a month, the child and youth advocate, Kelly Lamrock, says they should go back on until at least May 21.

“If we align for instance with Nova Scotia's date, that would give us a month to go back to masks, measure, and see if that reduces the case count increases that are being reported. Align us with the Atlantic provinces,” said Lamrock.

He started investigating after receiving several letters of concern.

The report found there was an overreliance on "following other provinces without providing evidence, projections, and measurements that would justify the public health recommendation," on masking.

Lamrock says children deserve a proper decision.

“One that you say ‘here's what we think will happen, here's what we're measuring, here's what would cause us to revisit the decision,’” said Lamrock.

“And when we couldn't get clarity on what's being measured, and why or when the decision would be revisited, that did cause some concern.”

New Brunswick is the only maritime province that doesn't require masks in schools and they have been criticized for it. Still, the education minister says it's up to public health.

“I've been very consistent publically saying this over and over again if public health gave a different recommendation it’s certainly something I would take very seriously,” said Dominic Cardy.

“Because I view that office as being where people with expertise provide my department with people who have expertise in education with the medical advice we need to keep our schools safe."

The New Brunswick Medical Society is one group advocating for mask-wearing.

"In summary, we are recommending ongoing use of making in schools,” said society president Dr. Mark MacMillan. “And obviously, improving the vaccination status in that age cohort.”

Lamrock has other recommendations for the government, including rapid testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases in schools, and making accommodations for students who need to protect vulnerable family members. Top Stories

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