BC's school mask mandate for K to 12 students, staff starts today

Oct 4 2021, 10:05 am

British Columbia’s expanded school mask mandate comes into effect starting today.

Details of the new policy were first shared on Friday morning by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside.

Face masks are now required for students between kindergarten and Grade 3. Previously, the existing guideline for mask usage only applied to those between grades 4 and 12. Masks will be required for students when they’re inside school buildings, sitting at their desks, and on buses.

The updated policy comes during what health officials describe as a dramatic spike in COVID-19 infections in schools across the province — specifically for younger children between 5 and 11-years-old.

“The rates that we’re seeing right now of COVID-19 per 100,000 population is going up quite dramatically, particularly in those younger school-aged children who are not eligible for vaccination,” said Dr. Henry.

Henry also suggested that the cases among children reflect the low vaccination rates in the regions they’re from, particularly Northern and Fraser Health.

In October, health officials will also release a new monthly report to inform British Columbians about COVID-19 and how it specifically affects school-aged children.

The mask measure will remain in effect until the end of the school term.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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