Masks mandatory for all B.C. students starting Oct. 4

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, makes an announcement about mandatory masks in schools on Oct. 1, 2021. || B.C. government photo
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All B.C. students kindergarten to grade 12 will be required to wear a mask when inside starting Oct. 4. The new measure builds on previous guidelines that mandate masks for students grades 4 to 12.

“We need to make changes to fit the situation as it’s arising. We know the COVID-19 virus is being transmitted more rapidly, particularly to those who don’t have the protection that vaccination offers,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “This extra measure adds another layer of protection as we navigate this phase of the pandemic.”

Students will have to wear a mask when inside a school building, including while at their desks and on buses, according to a release from the province. 

The public health office (PHO) will also begin to release new monthly reports about how the virus affects school-aged children.

As announced in August, regional medical health officers (MHOs) may recommend additional health and safety measures in response to local and regional conditions. MHOs will continue to work with school districts to recommend any additional regional measures as required, according to the province. 

Existing guidelines include daily health checks, hand washing, staying home when sick and improved ventilation systems. The guidelines also contain strategies for schools to help create space between people, including staggered recess, lunch breaks and class transition times, managing the flow of people in common areas and using available space to spread people out. 

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