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Surrey students, staff return to school from Spring Break to new mask order

Last Updated Mar 29, 2021 at 7:10 am PDT

FILE - Packages of face masks on April 29, 2020. (Tony Fera, CityNews)

Monday marks the first day back to school after Spring Break for many students

Many parents, teachers wondering why expanded mask order for Surrey isn't being implemented elsewhere

The new mask mandate for Surrey announced on Saturday as COVID-19 cases creep up in B.C.

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Students and teachers are used to feeling refreshed on the first day back after Spring Break — but there’s a very different situation evolving Monday.

COVID-19 case continue to rise, with some districts like Surrey now having stricter rules in place as a result.

Monday marks the first day of the new face covering order for Surrey schools. It means all K-12 staff and all students grades 4-12 have to wear a mask at all times, following that order from Fraser Health.

Exceptions to the order include:

  • If someone is unable to wear a face covering because of a psychological, behavioural, or health condition, or because of a physical, cognitive, or intellectual impairment
  • If an individual is unable to put or or take off a mask without help form another person
  • While communicating with someone who has a hearing impairment
  • When a person is actively eating or drinking
  • Teachers may remove the face covering while providing direct instruction at a distance of more than two metres from others

Given the big rise in cases, that’s prompting plenty of calls from teachers and parents in other districts to ask why similar moves aren’t being made elsewhere.

“I’m very curious why Surrey but not Burnaby, Coquitlam, delta (sic) and other fraser health (sic) schools,” asks one Twitter use.

Others wonder the same thing, with some wondering why the order doesn’t cover all districts under Fraser Health.

“The inconsistency will be causing anger from parents at other schools and the teachers and their school staff in other school districts,” Wendy writes on Twitter. “What is the problem with making masks mandatory in the schools?”

The new mask mandate was announced on Saturday.

Meanwhile on Vancouver Island, the health authority there is frank about the situation, warning over the weekend that all signs indicate there will be significant exposures at schools in the weeks to come, as it notes the number of children with coronavirus is on the rise.