VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. students in grades 4 to 12 will now have to wear a mask in school.
Just in time for students and teachers in Surrey to return to school after Spring Break, a mandatory mask policy for K-12 staff and all students grades 4-12 was in place.
The news quickly turned heads as many teachers and parents throughout the province wondered why the mandate wasn’t implemented elsewhere.
But just a day into Surrey’s mandatory mask policy, the province now requires Grade 4 to 12 students to wear a non-medical mask or face covering at all times while indoors at school.
Exceptions to the order include:
- If someone is unable to tolerate a mask for health or behavioural reasons
- If the person is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person
- If someone needs to remove their mask to identify themselves
- If someone is engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (for example, actively playing a wind instrument, high-intensity physical activity, etc.)
- When a person is eating or drinking
- If a person is behind a barrier
- Or if someone is helping a person with a disability or diverse ability (including but not limited to a hearing impairment), where visual cues, facial expressions, and lip-reading or movements are important
Staff, adult volunteers, and all Grade 4 to 12 students should wear a mask at all times while on school buses.
The statement adds that students should not be prevented from attending or fully participating in school if they aren’t wearing a mask.
Younger kids from Kindergarten to Grade 3 are also strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors but are not required to.
“Schools continue to be encouraged to support student mask use through positive and inclusive approaches, and not punitive or enforcement activities that exclude students from fully participating in school or that could result in stigma,” the statement reads.
This addendum is in place until April 19.