OTTAWA -- Students with Ottawa's French Catholic school board will need to wear a face mask on the school bus.

In a letter to parents, the Conseil des ecoles catholiques du Centre-Est says starting Monday, face masks will be mandatory for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 using school transportation.

Director of Education Rejean Sirois said the mandatory face mask policy for all students is aimed at reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission between students and bus drivers, who are particularly exposed due to the large number of passengers they provide daily transportation.

Sirois added the mandatory face mask rules were requested by the school transport companies, on the recommendations from bus drivers.

School bus providers for the French and English school boards have had trouble finding bus drives during the pandemic.