All grade school students in B.C. will need to mask up to go to class starting next week, including those in the Central Okanagan.
On Friday, Oct. 1, the province expanded mandatory masking in schools to include Kindergarten to Grade 3 students. Previously masks were only required for students between Grade 4 and 12.
“We continue to follow provincial and regional health direction on all safety measures, as we have since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Kevin Kaardal, SD23’s superintendent and CEO.
“Schools continue to be safe places to learn and our staff will continue to help students follow all guidelines with a kind and inclusive approach.”
The mandate applies while students are indoors or on school buses starting Oct. 4. Parents are encouraged to send their children to school with a mask, but the school district will work to ensure masks are available to students who don’t bring their own.
“The new K-12 Provincial Health Order will add another layer of protection for students and staff,” said Moyra Baxter, Chairperson for the Board of Education. “However, vaccinations provide the best protection against COVID-19, and the Central Okanagan Board of Education will continue to encourage vaccinations for all eligible people.”
During an Oct. 1 press conference, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government will begin releasing a monthly report detailing the impact of COVID-19 on school-aged children.
“This pandemic continues to evolve and so do we,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “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. This extra measure adds another layer of protection as we navigate this phase of the pandemic.”