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Mask and Face Covering Requirements For TDSB Students and Staff

Young students wear masks inside their classroom while doing school work

For the health and safety of our students and staff, masks or face coverings are required indoors on school property. Specifically:

  • Students must wear non-medical masks or face coverings while in school and on school buses.
  • Staff and visitors must wear Level 1 or 2 medical masks at all times when indoors. They must also be worn by staff outdoors when unable to maintain a physical distance of two metres/six feet. Level 1 and 2 medical masks provide low to moderate barrier protection from aerosols, sprays and fluids, and are appropriate for general use. These masks will be supplied by the TDSB for staff use.

This decision is informed by, and consistent with, the City of Toronto requirement that anyone aged two years and older must wear a mask/face covering in indoor public spaces, with possible exemptions. The requirement for all school board staff to wear medical masks follows the direction of the Ministry of Education.

Parents and students should remember:

  • To pack multiple snug and comfortable masks/face coverings each day. 
  • That schools and buses will have extra masks on hand for those who forget. Please note: the reusable masks that schools will have available for students who do not have their own masks must be washed before use . Schools will provide students with disposable masks to wear until they have the opportunity to bring the reusable masks home to wash.
  • To bring a breathable bag (paper or cloth) to store soiled masks, as well as a bag to store masks during outdoor breaks.
  • That staff will ensure regular outdoor breaks throughout the school day to take a break from wearing masks/face coverings.

Proper Use of a Mask/Face Covering

  • Do not share your mask/face covering with others.
  • Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off a mask/face covering.
  • Place the mask/face covering over your nose, mouth and chin.
  • Avoid touching your face and mask/face covering while using it.
  • Change your mask/face covering as soon as it is moist or dirty.
  • After wearing for a day, disposable masks/face coverings should be discarded and not used again.
  • Do not leave your mask/face covering tucked under your chin, hanging from your ear, or on your forehead.
  • Remove the mask/face covering by the ear loops without touching the front of the mask.
  • After wearing reusable cloth masks/face coverings, put in a plastic bag or directly in the laundry bin to be washed after use.
  • Launder cloth masks/face coverings with other items using the hot cycle and dryer, or follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

Types of Masks/Face Coverings

A good cloth mask or face covering should:

  • Be at least two layers of tightly woven cotton or linen.
  • Cover over nose, mouth and chin, and be easy to breathe through.
  • Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops without gaping or impairing vision.
  • Be comfortable to avoid the need for adjustments when wearing.
  • Maintain its shape after washing and drying.
  • Not contain non-breathable materials such as plastic.


A student wearing a mask gets on a school bus

Students can wear either a mask or face covering, including:

Disposable Masks – these masks are available in drug stores and many retail outlets, or can be ordered online. They are 3-layered, with stretchable elastic ear loops. After wearing for a day, these masks/face coverings should be discarded and not used again. Non-medical or medical versions of these masks are appropriate.


Reusable Masks – these masks look very similar to disposable masks but are made from cloth material that provides protection. Reusable masks can be used daily but need to be washed in hot water frequently. They can also be purchased at many retail outlets or ordered online, however the quality of these masks may vary.



Reusable Homemade Masks or Face Coverings -  these masks can be made from household or purchased fabric/materials. For instructions on making masks using fabric, visit the Government of Canada website. Note: Homemade masks and materials are not tested against any standards and may not be as effective in blocking virus particles that may be transmitted by coughing or sneezing.

Clear Face Masks

People who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disabilities, and people for whom English is an additional language may rely on seeing the whole face for communication.

People with ASD and other developmental issues rely on being able to see the whole face in order to interpret language and understand communication, and may be unable to identify a person even from a minor appearance change, such as wearing a mask/face-covering. TDSB staff working with these individuals may wear clear face masks when working with students and use medical masks otherwise. These masks are provided by the TDSB.

Masks Not Recommended for Use
Some commercially available masks have exhalation (breathable) valves or openings that make the mask more breathable for the person wearing it. However, these masks also allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask. Masks with exhalation valves are therefore not be used because they do not protect others from COVID-19 and do not limit the spread of the virus.

Use of Face Shields as an Alternative to Masks

A face shield features a looser fit and transparency, but is not an alternative to a mask. When used alone, face shields are not as effective as masks/face coverings. However, face shields can be considered for use only in certain circumstances (e.g., when masks are in short supply, when wearing masks interferes with speech clarity, for those impacted by heat stress, etc.).


In situations where a student, staff or visitor is not wearing a mask due to an exemption, but would like some additional protection, a face shield may be considered as an alternative measure of protection. 

Exemptions and Accommodations
Some students, staff and visitors will be exempt from wearing masks/face coverings in TDSB schools, buildings and on school buses. We need to be respectful and understanding of students and staff who cannot wear a mask for medical or other exemptions/accommodations.

Exemptions may be made for, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals with a medical condition that make it difficult to wear a mask, including:
    • Medical condition, mental health condition, cognitive condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask or face covering.
    • Medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe.
    • People who are D/deaf and hard of hearing or are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, and where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication (note: TDSB has ordered different types of clear masks).
  • Individuals who are unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance.
  • People who require accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

To learn more about mask and face covering requirements for TDSB students and staff, including more information about the process for determining exemptions, please read the TDSB Mask Guidelines.

Mask Guidelines

Toronto Public Health states:

Wearing masks/face coverings can be an added public health measure for containing the spread of COVID-19 when it is used in combination with frequent handwashing, physical distancing and staying home when sick.

The risk of spreading COVID-19 is greater indoors as there is less air flow and ventilation, more crowding, and a greater chance of touching surfaces that have been contaminated by respiratory droplets.

Wearing masks or face coverings indoors helps us keep our respiratory droplets to ourselves to prevent spreading germs to others. There is also evidence that cloth masks can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets into the air and landing on surfaces. Jurisdictions that have legislated mandatory masks have seen a decrease in new COVID-19 cases. 

Our Mission
To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and well-being
and to acquire the knowledge, skills
and values they need to become responsible, contributing members of
a democratic and sustainable society.
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