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Newfoundland and Labrador to drop mandatory masking in K-12 schools beginning May 24

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Students in Newfoundland and Labrador will no longer have to wear masks in schools to protect against COVID-19 infection as of May 24.
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An empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, March 23, 2020. Newfoundland and Labrador's plan for the upcoming school year aims to maximize in-class attendance with the option for schools to return to remote learning if COVID-19 risk increases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Students in Newfoundland and Labrador will no longer have to wear masks in schools to protect against COVID-19 infection as of May 24.

The province's chief medical officer of health says she still strongly recommends students and staff in K-12 schools wear masks, even though masking will no longer be mandatory,

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says COVID-19 epidemiology in the province supports the move, as officials are reporting eight hospitalizations due to the disease, and 108 new confirmed cases since Wednesday.

Fitzgerald says the province's online COVID-19 data centre will now only be updated once a week instead of three times a week.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the few provinces in Canada limiting widespread access to free rapid COVID-19 tests, a decision that has drawn criticism.

Fitzgerald says officials have heard the feedback and will be reviewing rapid testing policies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2022.

The Canadian Press