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Today’s letters: on school masks;  disabilities;  and green bins

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Clarity on masking helps young people

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Re: The new masking rule in Ottawa-Carleton schools takes effect immediately, according to the board, on April 13.

Most doctors are relieved that mask-wearing is once again mandatory in schools in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. This will reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19. As a child psychiatrist, I am also relieved that the mandatory mask wearing will reduce the anxiety level of many young people.

Anxiety blooms when there is uncertainty. Should I wear my mask? Will people laugh at me? Is someone gonna yell at me? Will my Nana get COVID if I don’t wear a mask and bring an infection home? For many young people, when the rules are not clear, doubt sets in and adds another difficulty to manage. If a child is already struggling with mental health issues, the uncertainty becomes an even greater burden.

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The lack of clarity around mask mandates has been difficult for adults, but for children it has added to the stress of an already difficult year. Eliminating warrants when precautions still had to be taken did not give young people more freedom; this added to their worries.

Dr. Gail Beck, Ottawa, Clinical Director, Juvenile Psychiatry, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center

Disability advocate deserves thanks

Re: Letter, High school is harder for some, 14 April.

Sofia Marquez Wilson, well said! I am a mother of two adult children with disabilities, and my son and daughter have struggled like you. They too lacked the understanding of teachers, peers or family. They were called lazy and some doubted they needed accommodation. If people do not see the disability with their own eyes, the disabled person is judged.

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Unfortunately, life becomes more difficult. As an adult, you are labeled and judged more harshly. Keep up your advocacy. Professionals and people who don’t want to listen are misinformed.

Brenda Boylan, Kemptville

Make ODSP an election issue

How about making the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) a provincial election issue? These people cannot work because they are disabled. Ontario government payments are well below the low income cutoff. Yet that has never been a problem for Doug Ford’s government.

These poor people have to pay rent, living expenses and food at a time when we are told the average family will spend $1,000 more this year on groceries. To have a heart.

Deborah Brehme, Nepean

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Green bins and older buildings

The full steam ahead approach of having green bins in all multi-residential buildings can raise some issues. Although the construction of new buildings may include properly ventilated rooms, the introduction of green bins into older buildings may create other problems.

A few weeks ago, green bins were placed in unventilated, windowless rooms in our 30+ year old condominium building. Considering the kitchen waste and pet waste, I can only imagine what kind of unpleasant aromas and potential bacteria issues are in store in hot weather. Consideration should have been given to retaining older buildings that may not be suitable for the green bin program or providing a financial incentive, perhaps through a property tax adjustment, for the cost of any required ventilation .

Dale Boire, Ottawa

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