KITCHENER -- The Grand Erie District School Board has decided its youngest students should be wearing masks in the classroom, but they won’t make it a mandatory policy.

That unanimous decision was made Monday night, at a meeting of school board trustees.

They say the school board will “strongly recommend” that masks be worn by students from junior kindergarten and up to Grade 3. That will include all buildings, and on any transportation where physical distancing isn’t possible.

The trustee ultimately decided that a mandatory policy would be too difficult to enforce.

“I think you have to recognize there’s virtually no way we can enforce this with our youngest children,” said board chair Greg Anderson. “In fact, the government has withdrawn the ability of principals to even suspend junior kindergarten to Grade 3 students. So realistically, I think it’s important we say it’s very strongly encouraged, that we get that message out there and hopefully peer pressure will be sufficient enough that most, if not all, children will be wearing them.”

Trustees say they’ve been inundated with feedback from parents on both sides of the debate, adding that they felt Monday’s decision strikes the right balance.