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York Region teachers reportedly threatened with disciplinary action for wearing N95 masks

Last Updated Oct 13, 2021 at 9:24 am EDT

An N95 mask is shown in Mississauga, Ont., on April 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The York Region District School Board is not budging on its mask policy for teachers, including for those who wish to wear the more protective N95 style masks.

Teachers seeking an extra layer of protection have chosen to buy and wear N95 masks in the classroom – but the CBC is reporting that three teachers who work for the York public board have been threatened with disciplinary action for doing so.

Only the board issued, less protective blue surgical masks are being allowed.

“I can’t speak to individual cases, however for their health and safety and that of other staff and students, all staff members are expected to wear the provided personal protective equipment (PPE) as required by regulating authorities,” says a spokesperson York Region District School Board.

“The Board may employ progressive steps to ensure compliance with this and other provincial requirements to ensure the safety of everyone in our schools and classrooms.”

One of the teachers says he works at an elementary school with students too young to be vaccinated and says it seemed like a no brainer to get a higher quality mask.

The teacher tells the CBC he was told by his principal and the board that he could only wear the surgical masks provided. He was told he would be immediately suspended without pay when he refused.

Epidemiologist Colin Furness calls the board issued masks “low quality” and “inadequate” and tells the CBC if teachers wants to upgrade their PPE they should be allowed to do so.