An important update to the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools and the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings was announced on October 1, 2021 by Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Superintendent of Schools Donna Kriger, would like to inform parents about this change and to update everyone on the notification process for school exposures.
Update to face coverings mandate
The provincial government has announced that beginning Monday, October 4, 2021, all students in B.C. schools will be required to wear a mask when inside a school building, including while at their desks and on buses. This builds on the existing guidelines that currently apply to all students in grades 4-12.
“We recognize that some students in grades K-3 may not be accustomed to wearing masks, as a result, school staff will spend October 4 helping children adjust to this change, with the goal of building mask wearing into student routines by Tuesday, October 5th. We suggest you send your K-3 child to school with a clean mask and a spare mask that they are used to wearing. Schools will have disposable masks available,” she reports.
As a reminder, provincial guidance advises that mask requirements do not apply to staff, students and visitors in the following circumstances:
- A person cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons;
- A person is unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person;
- If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it;
- If the mask is removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask;
- If a person is eating or drinking;
- If a person is behind a barrier; or
- While providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements is important.
Change to notification process for school exposures
The provincial government also made a change to the notification process for school exposures, directing local health authorities to begin posting general school exposure notifications to their websites. Exposure notifications for our school district and the Interior Health region more broadly can be found on the Interior Health school exposures page. For a helpful overview of the contact tracing process visit the BC CDC website.
“Thank you for your continued support.”