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Canadian Teacher Under Investigation After Tweeting That Masked and Unmasked Students Should Be Segregated

Published: March 14, 2022
St. Mary's Catholic School in Toronto, Ontario, sits closed on Jan. 5, 2022 after the province of Ontario transitioned to online learning in the face of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of COVID-19. (Image: GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)

A teacher with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has been placed on home assignment pending the outcome of an investigation into a tweet he posted that recommended teachers segregate students into masked and unmasked groups. 

On his now deleted profile, Peter Hasek, tweeted, “Teachers, some best practices for you to implement for March 21:  Classroom w a segregated seating plan. Students split into masked/unmasked sections. Hepa filters placed between the two. Parents who choose to mask their kids will appreciate your consideration.”

Hasek is reportedly a music teacher for the Toronto District School Board however it is unknown which school or schools he teaches at. 

TDSB spokesperson, Ryan Bird, said in an emailed statement to the Toronto Sun, “We strongly disagree with this social media post. The opinion shared by this staff member does not reflect the position of the Toronto District School Board and this will not be happening in any of our classrooms.”

Hasek’s now deleted Twitter bio described himself as a “proud parent of a TDSB student and also a proud TDSB teacher for over 20 years.”

Ontario lifting province wide mask mandate

The Chief Medical Officer for the province of Ontario, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced last week that Ontarians will no longer be required to wear a mask indoors in most public settings, including schools, on March 21. 

However, settings considered high-risk such as hospitals, congregate care settings, long-term care facilities and public transit will still require people to mask up. 

“Removing the mask mandate does not mean the risk is gone. We are moving from mandate to a choice,” Moore said while reiterating his stance that masks can still limit virus transmission and are still encouraged in some situations. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he believes the time is right to remove the mask mandate based on recommendations from his Chief Medical Officer.

“It’s going to be up to the people of Ontario. If you want to keep your mask on, keep it on. If you want to take it off, take it off. We have to move forward from this, people are exhausted, and the poor kids in those classrooms too. We have to move on,” Ford said. 

In a statement, released by Ontario’s Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, Ontario boards of education were told that they are expected to lift the mask mandate for students. 

“School boards in this province are expected to implement this cautious plan, coupled with the ongoing improvement of air ventilation within Ontario classrooms,” the statement reads.

The province of Ontario plans to invest “heavily” to improve air ventilation by deploying around 49,000 HEPA filters to schools and child-care centres. 

“Additional ventilation investments, paired with over 7 million rapid tests every month for schools, as well as enhanced funding for cleaning and staffing, underscores our firm commitment to getting students back to more normal classrooms with strong protections in place as we know it is critical to their mental health,” the statement reads.