Respiratory viruses: wearing a mask recommended for everyone, except at school

Faced with a “spicy cocktail” of three respiratory viruses, Public Health recommends wearing a mask for everyone in busy public places. But unlike Ontario, Quebec’s recommendation does not apply to daycares and schools.

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In addition to COVID-19, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are hitting Quebec this year. Children are particularly affected by RSV infections, possibly because they did not develop antibodies during the two years of confinement.

In context, Public Health recommends “wearing a mask in public places that are busy, for everyone, regardless of age,” said Minister of Health Christian Dubé on Wednesday during a briefing. release with the National Director of Public Health, Dr Luc Boileau, and Assistant Deputy Minister, Daniel Desharnais.

“But that excludes schools and daycares,” said Minister Dubé.

Two views on school

Even though these are busy places and pediatric emergencies are overflowing, Public Health has chosen to exclude them, after consulting pediatricians. “We know, with the data that we have accumulated over the past two years, that it poses a difficulty to wear the mask permanently in the school”, explained the Dr Boileau.

Wearing a mask particularly complicates socialization among children.

However, a sick child should miss school and wear a mask when they return for as long as they have symptoms, reminds Dr Luc Boileau.

Quebec’s decision contrasts with that of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Kieran Moore on Monday strongly recommended wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, including schools and daycares.

Dr Moore also said he’s “looking into” the possibility of forcing him into school and daycare.

common sense

In general, health authorities appeal to the common sense of citizens to decide whether they should put on the mask. “We know it, which puts us at risk,” says Dr. Boileau, recalling the experience of Quebecers for 2 and a half years of the pandemic.

Queues to enter a store, cinemas and theaters, for example, are places at risk, he illustrated.

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As in the past, Public Health reiterates the importance of washing your hands regularly and staying home when you have a fever and wearing a mask as soon as symptoms appear.


The Dr Luc Boileau also took the opportunity to ask Quebecers to get their booster dose against COVID-19 or their influenza vaccine.

“It’s not too late. The flu season is starting, but you can’t wait until Christmas to say: hey, I’m going to get vaccinated. We’re going to be in there en masse. So, let’s get it as soon as possible, ”he pleaded.