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Parent urges district to adopt mandatory mask policy in schools

UNBC Associate Geography Professor Dr. Zoë Meletis
Dr. Zoë Meletis

Zoe Meletis’ eight-year-old daughter has been wearing a mask to school since September. She is now working on a petition calling for masks to be mandatory in schools as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19. She got some help from her mother who took the message to the School District 57 board of education Tuesday.

“I asked her why and she said because if the government isn’t going to do it we should,” Zoe Meletis told the board. “Wearing masks will make people safer.”

She asked the board to consider a mask mandate, with certain exceptions, in local schools.

“With this swift and easy measure, you can best provincial guidelines and give Prrince George families what they want … the ability to feel safer about keeping kids in school,” she said. “We don’t want to pull kids out of school for safety. That’s inequitable and unsustainable. We want our kids to learn, have fun and be with their peers … We don’t want to have to choose between our children’s well-being and education.”

She offered up support from several other parents, education and health professionals, voicing support for mandatory masks in schools.

“This is not an abstract problem, you can do something right now to make a difference,” she said.

Board chair Trent Derrick said that since Tuesday’s session was a special meeting, board members were not allowed add to the agenda so any motion regarding mandatory masks would have to wait until the January 26 regular public meeting.

Northern Health currently lists 16 possible COVID-19 exposures at School District 57 schools dating back to November.

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