York region teacher says he faced suspension without pay for wearing N95 mask in class

Three York Region teachers who've chosen to buy and wear N95-style masks in the classroom say they've been threatened with disciplinary action because only board-issued, but less protective, blue surgical masks are allowed.

38 comments

Best
All
Area51Resident
Area51Resident
204 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Simple: just give board-issued N95 masks to teachers that request them. Greater safety, improved moral, and negligible cost increase. If you are going to allow non-vaccinated teachers and students in the classroom, at least support the teachers that have functioning brains.

SpicyHaggisDev
SpicyHaggisDev
191 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Silly click baity article.

It's most likely a liability thing under the schools board's IPC protocols. School board supplies the PPE and cannot verify if some random masks teachers are getting themselves and bringing in that seemingly have 'n95' stamped on them offer equivalent protection as their sourced and verified supply of masks, Therefore they are not permitted. Depending on how they procure their masks, it could also be an MDEL thing.

Also (assuming they are actually n95s) unless they were properly fit tested for those n95s using specialized equipment, which I'm going to go ahead and make an assumption and say no, then they aren't using the n95s correctly and will run into the same perceived issues as 'surgical masks that are open at the sides' per the article. N95s need to be properly fit tested to ensure that a protective seal is formed around the edges onto your face. The statement made by the OSSTF president 'applauding schools that allow superior masks' is misinformed, baseless and foolish in that regard.

Since they aren't around any AGMPs, they don't need n95s and level 3 medical grade surgical masks are adequate for the environment they work in.

Source: I work in healthcare and deal with IPC protocol development, compliance oversight and PPE procurement.

Edit: Thanks for the Gold. I got a rightful 3 day ban for calling someone calling me an idiot a donut, so I am not able to respond in detail, but I recommend also reading /u/​Gullible-Order3048 comment below for a different, well informed view on masking. My only comment in response would pertain to the scalability of either validating the authenticity and efficacy of self-procured n95s across an entire school board (which yes may be easy at an individual level but more challenging at a board level re: oversight and compliance).

ilovebeaker
ilovebeaker
135 · 9 days ago · Reddit

I hope the court of public opinion will sway the board to allow people to buy and wear better masks with their own time and money because at the end of the day it's to keep everyone safe.

Ryan Imgrund
Ryan Imgrund
97 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Tell me you don’t care about the health and safety of your staff without directly saying this…

nnc0
nnc0
88 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Scientific American had a good article on masks recently.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/​article/​why-we-need-to-upgrade-our-face-masks-and-where-to-get-them/

A couple of extracts

“A year ago we could say that we were concerned about shortages for health care workers, so we were telling people to make your cloth mask, and any mask is better than no mask,” says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer and aerosol science expert at Virginia Tech. But given what scientists know now—especially with the virus’s highly transmissible Delta variant spreading and people spending more time indoors in schools, for example—“I think the CDC should be recommending high-performance masks for everyone when they’re in these risky indoor situations,” she says.

“To me, the minimum I want to see people wear is a KN95 or KF94 with the Delta variant,” Collins says. “I don’t think surgical masks are good enough anymore, and we should’ve gotten rid of cloth masks last summer—they’re not even in the spectrum” of good filtration. (To be clear, some studies have found that surgical and cloth masks can provide at least some protection against COVID.

Since we have a much more robust supply of medical grade masks for healthcare environments there is no harm in that teacher being allowed to wear whatever he wants above the minimum standard to deal with all the extra risks he faces.

Jasjit Hayer
Jasjit Hayer
47 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Am I the only one trying to find logic behind it ?

Mamabear123
Mamabear123
44 · 9 days ago · Twitter

So we’re allowing unvaccinated teachers teach, but suspending those that wear a safer mask. Got it.

Lynne Irwin
Lynne Irwin
42 · 9 days ago · Twitter

This is wrong! N95 are clearly safer. So this means that the York Region Board of Education doesn't care if staff and students become infected with COVID. Nice play York Region

m42ra-63 🏴‍☠️
m42ra-63 🏴‍☠️
36 · 9 days ago · Twitter
  • why are YR teachers being forced to put their families and communities in danger? Everyone has the right to protect themselves and their loved ones. A school board should be protecting its teachers, not penalizing them! FIX THIS!!! 😡
SV
SV
38 · 9 days ago · Twitter

sounds like you guys need to do your job and protect your members from these micro managers at @yrdsb

Fr0wningCat
Fr0wningCat
35 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Ah yes, lets punish the teachers who try to be more safe, but not those who refuse to get vaccinated. That totally makes sense. That doesn't put additional stress on people who are already overstressed AT ALL....

/s

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen
27 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Wear the best possible mask you can find. #COVIDisAirborne and the province, the board, not even the union wants to admit it. #houseofcards #n95sforall

IISovereignII
IISovereignII
28 · 9 days ago · Reddit

This is a government thing - try going to a court house - they will force you to switch to a shitty blue mask.

trovats81
trovats81
25 · 9 days ago · Reddit

All jobs, especially those in a union environment, require you to wear employer supplied PPE. This is an example of the school board taking health and safety seriously.

The Mike 😷💉💉🇨🇦
The Mike 😷💉💉🇨🇦
17 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Hey @YRDSB you guys are really screwing this one up. Better masks equal better protection. Educate yourselves, do better and stop playing stupid political games. Funny that teachers have to bring in all sorts of their own materials to underfunded classrooms but you ban masks.

Polifun Pwonk
Polifun Pwonk
17 · 9 days ago · Twitter

This is any easy win lawsuit against the board. The idiocy never ceases to amaze.

Ontario0000
Ontario0000
17 · 9 days ago · Reddit

I've seen people with beards wearing N95 mask its totally infective wearing it this way.This is why you rarely see doctors with facial hair.

MaryAnne Gaudette
MaryAnne Gaudette
16 · 9 days ago · Twitter

All educators should be supplied with N95 masks if you value their health and safety.

terri paron
terri paron
15 · 9 days ago · Twitter

This is absolutely ridiculous...I cannot imagine being a teacher right now ....the stress they must be under must be horrendous!!!

Millie Donuts
Millie Donuts
10 · 9 days ago · Twitter

I would very much like to know the names of the schools and the administrators who are enforcing this reckless rule.

LeftyGoosee
LeftyGoosee
11 · 9 days ago · Reddit

What a shitty school board. If a teacher wants to get a better level of safety on their own dime that's up to them. Hope nothing is missing on the reporting on this one. Maybe the board doesn't want students to think that surgical masks are inferior to the N95? Odd either way

Greg Rout
Greg Rout
9 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Exposing a new baby to COVID-19 for crying out loud?! We all know this child won't be getting vaccinated anytime soon. Time for @YRDSB to come clean on why they're pushing this inferior mask policy. This is unacceptable.

Mary Mary
Mary Mary
9 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Is this not something his union should fight? Does he not have the right to a safe working environment.

Jess
Jess
7 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Did the teacher have a mask on? Yes Was the teacher doing their job teaching the children whilst keeping themself and the children safe? Yes. ... WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?! Let the teacher do their job for goodness sake! At least they're not wearing a stupid hankerchief as a mask!

Xeno
Xeno
7 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Meanwhile, a Toronto police officer charged with sexual assault was suspended with pay of $165 000. (Not to mention that he went to the woman's home and assaulted her while he was on another call without telling the communications operator that he was leaving.)

givemean95
givemean95
8 · 9 days ago · Reddit

This is absolutely moronic on the school boards part.

It would be one thing if the teacher was wearing a less protective one and he was being asked to wear a more protective one. But it's the other way around.

I hope he sues the school board and forces them to then make the N95 the safety standard. That'll hurt then in the pocketbook. Bunch of moronsm

Meowshuitz
Meowshuitz
8 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Such bullshit for our teachers to live with. Forcing kids to do in class learning while there’s no vaccine targeted for them, and forcing teachers not to wear a mask they choose based on their bodily autonomy. Absolute ass-backwards thinking on the school boards part. Teachers have the right to their autonomy to wear a mask, the question isn’t not wearing a mask it’s wearing a “correct” mask to feel safe which is categorically accepted everywhere else

ScoobySnax
ScoobySnax
7 · 9 days ago · Twitter

The same board forcing the ineffective hybrid system on virtual learners.

myDogStillLovesMe
myDogStillLovesMe
7 · 9 days ago · Reddit

It is click-baity because I and my colleagues just wear our N-95 masks under the blue ones that the TDSB gives us, so admin don't have to worry about the letter of the law and we don't have to worry about insufficient PPE.

Concerned NS’ian
Concerned NS’ian
6 · 9 days ago · Twitter

What in the absolute hell is going on? Justified it how with variants & known Canadian 4th wave & working with a population (under 12) that’s unvaccinated? What’s going on in Canada???!!... there isn’t a shortage of the masks are there?

E63ASC
E63ASC
6 · 9 days ago · Reddit

Not only does it count as mask that you must wear indoors, but it’s the safest one you could possibly wear for civilian use. Nothing makes sense anymore I guess…

jb
jb
5 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Lots of militant folks out there these days… let ppl wear the masks they want or have period.

ItsNotOK
ItsNotOK
5 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Clearly this is about controlling the sheep, not health. “…didn't explain why teachers' could be suspended without pay for upgrading to N95 masks, while teachers choosing not to get vaccinated are allowed to continue teaching as long as they undergo rapid testing twice a week.”

Phil’s Watches
Phil’s Watches
4 · 9 days ago · Twitter

Yes this is insane. My wife works in kindergarten where half the kids aren’t masked. She tried to wear a KN95 and was told she must wear the surgical masks provided by the board.

Michelle Rogers
Michelle Rogers
4 · 8 days ago · Twitter

If they let us wear the N95 masks, they are admitting that #COVIDisAirborne and that their masks are not enough. If they admit #COVIDisAirborne ,they have to fix ventilation in all schools and fix kids eating together which they will never do. They will never admit it. #FireLecce

Spiritofhonour
Spiritofhonour
5 · 9 days ago · Reddit

What if they just wore the blue surgical mask on top of their N95 masks?

InfiniteExperience
InfiniteExperience
5 · 9 days ago · Reddit

You’re supposed to wear the PPE provided by your employer. Anyone can buy a fake N95 by accident. I’ve ordered a couple of cheap N95’s and “surgical medical grade” masks of Amazon and the quality is horrendous.

decitertiember
decitertiember
5 · 9 days ago · Reddit

While I appreciate that the school, like any employer, can require employees to wear their PPE which they can verify, it seems pretty obvious to me that these teachers could simply wear those school-provided blue masks over a more protective mask, but maybe ones that are smaller than the one they bought.