TORONTO, ON – The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is concerned about the government’s undermining of school boards that want to maintain masking policies to protect the safety of students and staff.

Once again, the government appears to be prioritizing political interests over safety in schools. The Ontario Science Table and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald Cohn have said that the March 21 removal of the mask mandate comes too soon; yet, the government expects school boards to implement this decision to prematurely remove masks in schools next week. Doug Ford should be motivated by care and concern for students rather than his re-election strategy, and work in cooperation with school boards to ensure safety and stability for all.

This government has repeatedly left students, families, teachers, and education workers at higher risk by refusing to take basic precautions such as reducing class sizes and providing adequate ventilation. Throughout the pandemic, schools have been expected to meet a different set of rules than other high-risk settings. The government’s insistence that boards remove the mask mandate in schools continues this misguided practice, leaving Ontario school boards that want to proceed as safely as possible unable to provide the important protections they need.

The government must prioritize the safety of students, teachers, and education workers. Ontario students and families deserve better.

ETFO represents approximately 83,000 members, including public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel. Visit