BC health officials aren't planning to make masks mandatory in schools

May 27 2020, 12:09 am

BC health officials won’t require masks to be worn in the classroom setting when schools in the province reopen next Monday, June 1.

“We don’t see non-medical masks as being required on an ongoing basis in that setting,” said Provincial Heath Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during her daily update on Tuesday.

Masks “are optional for people who feel that it’s an extra layer that they want to do to protect others from their droplets,” she said. “But as we know, the other measures that we have in place are the most important ones.”

These measures include “smaller numbers of students who stay together, so they’re not mixing through the day, staggering times to come in and leave, making sure that they can physically distance… and hand hygiene on a regular basis,” she said. “We know these measures are effective, and those are the things that we’re focusing on.”

Henry added she’s also aware that there are some people who are not able to wear a non-medical mask for various reasons.

In her mind, masks “are an extra tool that can be layered on above other things as well, but it’s not something that we would require.”

Rather, wearing a mask is “something that’s for short-term use when you can’t maintain your safe physical distancing or when there are no barriers in place to protect you,” she said.

As such, “I don’t see us requiring non-medical masks in the school setting.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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