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Trustee motion to reinstate indoor mask mandate fails at TVDSB meeting – London


A motion to reinstate an indoor masking mandate at the Thames Valley District School Board failed during a special meeting of the TVDSB’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

The meeting was called in response to a growing number of staff absences tied to illness at the TVDSB and sought to have local medical officers of health field questions related to COVID-19.

Last week, TVDSB associate director Jeff Pratt told Global News, “there have been hundreds of unfilled jobs on several occasions this week.”

Lambeth Public School and Sir Isaac Brock Public School were also both temporarily closed on Friday due to “operational concerns related to staffing,” before reopening on Monday.

Read more:

TVDSB Board of Trustees calls special meeting as staff absences rise

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During Tuesday’s meeting, director of education Mark Fisher told trustees the board is currently facing “north of 1,000 total absences, which is approximately 10 per cent of our overall staff.”

“We are significantly challenged by the number of unfilled (jobs) and I do not yet have an understanding or an awareness of whether or not that can be shared publicly, but we are investigating that information,” Fisher added.

“The majority of that absence is due to either illness or quarantine.”

Fisher says the board is using every tool available to deal with the absences, including reallocation of staff.

He adds that he had a conversation with Deputy Minister of Education Nancy Naylor earlier this week to discuss options to potentially ease the workload for TVDSB staff amid the rise in absences.

“One of the suggestions that we asked was could there be some more flexibility and adaptability around the (EQAO) testing windows or perhaps even a deferral of the (EQAO) testing process for this year, and that is something I’ve also encouraged through the Council of Ontario Directors of Education,” Fisher said.

“We are waiting to hear back. That is currently something under consideration and that request has been formally made.”

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COVID-19: Hamilton’s public school board exploring options to reimplement mask mandate

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The meeting also saw Trustee Corrine Rahman put forward a motion to mandate masking inside all TVDSB buildings “until such time as Public Health Ontario updates this guidance or the Local Public Health Units in TVDSB explicitly advise otherwise.”

Seconded by Trustee Bruce Smith, the mandate would also not require students to submit medical documentation for exemptions.

“Tonight we have ahead of us a decision: Is the inconvenience of temporarily extending the least intrusive measure, masking, so burdensome that we shouldn’t do it? Or is it possible that this small action can help to keep people safer and keep schools open?” Rahman said.

Trustee Meagan Ruddock said she was concerned that the motion could be stepping outside of the Board of Trustees’ authority.

“We’ve had several legal opinions in our current term making it very clear that our only role is governance and I’m confused why we are wading into an operational matter with a motion that is clearly operational in nature as it relates to the day-to-day operations of the board,” Ruddock said.

Ali Chahbar, who serves as the TVDSB’s general legal counsel, responded that any guidance from the Ministry of Education on masking mandates would supersede any motion passed by the Board of Trustees.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has previously defended the province’s decision to lift mask mandates in schools on March 21, having also said that school boards are expected to follow the plan.

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Read more:

School boards ‘expected’ to follow province in lifting mask mandate: Ontario government

Ruddock raised a point of order to rule that Rahman’s motion could not be passed as it infringed on rules for the Board of Trustee’s authority.

Board chair Lori-Ann Pizzolato disagreed, adding that motion was permissible to pass “since we’ve had a masking motion previously at this table.”

After Ruddock chose to appeal Pizzolato’s ruling, the chair’s ruling then went before for all Board of Trustees with the majority voting not to sustain Pizzolato’s ruling, meaning Rahman’s motion could not be voted on.

The meeting was adjourned soon after.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor doesn’t recommend reintroducing mask mandates despite 6th wave'







COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor doesn’t recommend reintroducing mask mandates despite 6th wave


COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor doesn’t recommend reintroducing mask mandates despite 6th wave


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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