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Surrey superintendent urges vigilant mask use in schools amid high COVID-19 cases

Last Updated Oct 19, 2020 at 1:40 pm PDT

Surrey School District Superintendent Jordan Tinney in a COVID-19 update message Oct. 19, 2020. (Courtesy Surrey Schools/Vimeo)

Superintendent for Surrey is reminding everyone in schools to remain vigilant and keep up with mask use

Jordan Tinney notes the Fraser Health region continues to have more COVID-19 cases than the rest of B.C. combined

Tinney says there have been 68 COVID-19 exposure in the district by his count

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — The head of the Surrey School District is asking students, teachers, and staff not to let up, and to continue practising COVID-19 protocols in schools.

Superintendent Jordan Tinney posted an update message Monday reminding everyone to be vigilant and wear a mask in common areas.

“We just feel as a district, it’s good to give a reminder we should be doing all we can and using every measure at our disposal and a mask is one of those measures,” he says.

October 18, 2020: Surrey Schools Update from Surrey Schools on Vimeo.

He says the number of cases in local schools continues to reflect what’s happening in the Fraser Health region.

“We know that in the Fraser Health region, we continue to have more cases than the rest of the province combined. In all, we have almost 70 per cent of all active cases in the province.”

MAP: Lower Mainland schools with COVID-19 exposures

Tinney says nine exposure notices in the district were sent out over the weekend, “by my count, that’s 68 in all.”

He notes that after speaking with health officials, the concerns aren’t limited to spreading the virus in the classrooms.

“It’s hallways and photocopy rooms and lunchrooms, all those places where it’s the informal gathering,” he says.

“We’re just asking you to make sure that when you’re in common areas, please wear a mask.”

As part of B.C.’s Back to School plan, masks are required for students and staff in middle and high schools while they’re in “high-traffic areas like school buses and hallways, and anytime they are outside of their classroom or learning group and they cannot safely distance from others.”

There are exceptions for staff and students who can’t wear masks for medical or disability-related reasons.

Students in elementary schools are not required to wear masks.

Everyone is expected to maintain proper physical distancing when possible from people who are not in their learning groups.

Staff can choose whether to wear a mask with their learning group.