SUDBURY -- Starting Monday, wearing a mask on school buses in Greater Sudbury will be mandatory.

The Sudbury Student Services Consortium, which handles school buses in the city, made the announcement Friday afternoon.

"Exceptions will be allowed for students with health problems or special needs that prevent them from wearing a mask," the consortium said in a news release.

Previously, students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 were only encouraged to wear a mask on the school bus.

The move comes as COVID-19 cases spike across the province, including Sudbury, where seven cases have been reported in the last week.

"While respecting the guidelines issued by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the public health office, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium is prioritizing the health of students and school bus drivers and monitors," the release said.

"In an effort to support students and families, the Sudbury Student Services Consortium has created a COVID-19 procedures area on our website."