New Brunswick’s child, youth and seniors’ advocate is calling on the province to revisit COVID-19 masking regulations in schools.
In a report published on April 21, Kelly Lamrock made eight recommendations to improve the safety of schools for children across the province. Lamrock said his office completed an inquiry into the decision after several complaints were brought forward by residents.
“We received a number of public concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 in schools following the lifting of most pandemic measures,” said Lamrock in a release.
“We initially reached out to the chief medical officer of health and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in hopes that we could get clarity on the process of, and reasons for, the decision so as to inform the public.”
The inquiry found that New Brunswick did not provide evidence, projections or measurements to justify lifting Public Health’s recommendation, choosing instead to follow the example of other provinces.
He is also concerned about the lack of benchmarks to monitor the impact of removing restrictions.
Lamrock said fewer than half of children attending school are vaccinated, which he says is a mismatch between the public advice that vaccines are more effective than masks. There are legitimate reasons to consider lifting masking rules, but only with “clear evidence,” he said.
“Children deserve a decision [that] considers their rights and needs, with clear and relevant factual findings, which need to be communicated with clarity and accountability,” said Lamrock.
“We should be as vigilant in monitoring the lifting of mandates as we were at the start.”
A complete list of the advocate’s recommendations can be found here.