Surrey, B.C (WNEWS) – Surrey Schools will require students grade 4-12 and K-12 staff members to wear face coverings/masks in a school board’s press statement. starting March 27. The new rules come into place as COVID-19 case spikes in Fraser Health Region.
- Surrey Schools to require students in Grade 4 – 12 to wear face-covering
- The School board has been working with Fraser Health and PHO to reduce the spread.
- COVID-19 cases have spiked in the province after the declaration of the third wave
According to a plan to help curb the spread of the pandemic, the school board has been working with Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Fraser Health officers, according to a statement released by the school board Saturday.
As part of the plan that the school board has done included limiting contact with the public, scheduling specific times for schools to review and adjust site-specific health and safety plans, working with school administrators and families to ensure all students and parents vacate school grounds immediately after school.
The new rules require that students and staff wear a face coving even if in the same cohorts. The only exception is if the student or staff has a medical reason, teachers providing direct instruction at a distance of more than two metres from others. Or Eating or drinking.
“As this pandemic continues to evolve and as we learn more about the virus and variants of concern, the health and safety protocols in our schools must evolve too.
As you know, we have been working closely with public health, and our Surrey Board of Education and district rely on the advice and guidance of our medical health experts to guide the safe operation of our schools. These experts include the Provincial Health Officer and our local Medical Health Officers with our regional health authority (Fraser Health).” – Surrey Schools.
Teachers and the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation Union (BCTF) have been calling for more measures, including mask mandates requirements for all students and staff. This comes after the province made masks mandatory in all public indoor places for these 12 years and above.
The Order is specific to our district and requires all K-12 staff and all students in Grades 4 to 12 to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups.
- If an individual is unable to wear a face-covering because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition; or a physical, cognitive or intellectual impairment.
- If an individual is unable to put on or remove a face covering without the assistance of another person.
- While communicating with a person who has a hearing impairment.
- When an individual is actively eating or drinking.
- For teachers – if the face covering is removed while providing direct instruction at a distance of more than two metres from others.
Cases have spiked over the last week in the province, with the rolling average now over 700 cases a day. The province reported on Friday 908 new cases and five new deaths.
Last Monday, the province officially declared that the province in the third wave of the pandemic as cases started to rise.
This Order was developed by Fraser Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer, in consultation with the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Education and Surrey Board of Education.
This is welcome news and will offer an additional layer of protection for our staff and students. In addition to the targeted measures announced earlier this month by our district, this mandate will allow our schools to safely continue face-to-face learning by following all appropriate measures to limit the spread of illness.
We recognize this will be a change for some of our elementary students in Grades 4-7. We will work closely with schools to communicate these new measures with parents, and we will work with staff and families to ensure all of our students continue to have access to non-medical face masks.
Surrey Schools also mentioned that they are on track to vaccinate 8,500 staff members by April 1.
“Fraser Health is also actively immunizing school-based staff in our district. We are working closely with the regional health authority to coordinate schedules and are on track to vaccinate over 8,500 staff members by April 1.”
Masks are still strongly recommended for students in kindergarten to grade 3. The order starts Saturday, March 27, as students return to the classroom on Monday after spring break.