All middle, and secondary students and K-12 staff will now be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups, BC government said today.
The only exceptions are when they are sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom, there is a barrier in place, or if they are eating or drinking.
Before today’s announcement, masks were required for middle and secondary students and all K-12 staff in high-traffic areas, like hallways and outside of classrooms or learning groups when they could not safely distance from others.
For elementary students, wearing masks indoors remain a personal choice.
These updates are part of ongoing work of the provincial education steering committee and are in alignment with provincial health updates, the province said.
Province will announce updated guidelines for the child care sector soon.
Guidelines have also been strengthened for physical education and music classes.
High-intensity physical activities are to be held outside as much as possible, and shared equipment or items, such as weight machines, treadmills or musical instruments can be used only if they are cleaned between use.
Students using equipment or playing instruments should also be spaced at least two metres apart and masks are to be used when singing.
“To make sure schools continue to be as safe as possible for students and staff as the pandemic evolves, we have worked with provincial health and our partners on a continuous review of the guidelines, adapting and responding when needed,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.
“We want students, their families and staff to feel confident with the safety measures in place. That’s why we’re making these updates.”
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