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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.

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