SUDBURY -- Students from grades 1-12 in Greater Sudbury covered by the Rainbow District School Board will have to wear a mask when they return to school, the board announced Wednesday.

Kindergarten students will be required to wear masks in indoor spaces. Trustees voted unanimously in favour of the policy at their meeting Tuesday.

"With reasonable exceptions, all students in Rainbow Schools in Grades 1 to 12 are now required to wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes," the board said in a news release.

Outdoor times like recess will be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing masks within their cohorts, the release said.

Bring your own mask

“During these difficult times, a safe, caring and respectful learning environment is essential for all students and staff,” board chair Doreen Dewar is quoted as saying in the release. “Wearing masks is an extra layer of protection that we are implementing to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and the communities that we serve.”

Students are being asked to come to school with their own masks. Cloth masks are recommended, since they are reusable, can be washed daily, and are more environmentally friendly.

"Students are encouraged to bring spare masks in the event one becomes wet or damaged throughout the day," the release said. "Masks should be washed and dried on a nightly basis."

Schools will have a supply of reusable, cloth masks available for students who need them. Staff, parents/guardians and visitors are also required to wear masks.

To access a fact sheet on how to wear a mask, click here