Mesh masks not appropriate PPE in classrooms, Brantford school board says

A mix up over masks has a school board in Brantford clearing the air.

The questions started when a student showed up with a mesh mask at a school, which a parent has identified as Ecole Confederation.

The move prompted a teacher to reach out to Public Health on Friday to ask if they’re allowed.

“As a parent this really concerns me,” said Karley Doucette, a parent of a child at the school. “It came to my attention that there were parents at our kid’s school, sending their children to school with mesh masks.”

The message from the Grand Erie District School Board is that face masks made from a mesh material are not allowed in the classroom.

In an email to CTV News, the school board said “their guidance has always identified medical masks and standard cloth masks as appropriate face coverings, but if the need arises to refine language to be more clear, they’re happy to do so.”

Experts say a mesh mask would not protect students from COVID-19.

“They really just don’t do anything to help protect you from any of the aerosols and droplets that contain the virus. It’s like not wearing a mask at all,” said Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious disease specialist.

Public Health says there was some confusion over the situation after a staff member responded to a question from the public regarding mesh face masks, “in a manner that doesn’t reflect the guidelines regarding what constitutes an acceptable face covering.”

Public Health has apologized and says it followed up with the correct information.

“We were talking about how it’s kind of a fish net stocking or something like that,” said Doucette. “Yes, there is some material happening there, but there’s quite significant holes and it’s not doing what a mask is supposed to be doing.”

Public Health says there’s no investigation underway and it has informed the school board that masks or face coverings must be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and must cover the nose and mouth.