The new mask mandate will require students to wear masks even within their learning cohorts. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

The new mask mandate will require students to wear masks even within their learning cohorts. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

SD 91’s enhanced COVID-19 measures

Informs of a new health tool to help students and parents through the pandemic

School District 91 (SD91) has released a set of enhanced guidelines for K through 12 after the provincial announcement on Feb. 4 making masks mandatory in schools.

As per the education and health officials’ order, masks are now mandatory in middle schools and high schools except in three scenarios — when students are at their own desk or workstation, when they are eating or drinking and when there is a plexiglass barrier between them.

All schools under SD91 will now follow a set of guidelines posted on the school district’s website. As per these guidelines, all K – 12 staff in schools and all students in middle and secondary schools will have to wear nonmedical masks in all indoor areas, even when they are in their learning groups.

Apart from the three scenarios when exemptions on wearing masks would be made, students and staff who cannot wear a mask for health or behavioural reasons would also be exempt from this mandate.

Wearing a mask alone is not enough, and students and the staff will be expected to continue social distancing from those outside their learning cohorts.

While elementary school students are not required to wear masks, if some families want to send their kids with masks, it is up to them.

The school district also informed of a new K-12 health check resource created by the Ministry of Education with the public health and BC CDC. This resource will allow students and parents to complete a daily health check on the website or the app before coming in to school. This resource will also contain the latest BC health guideline information.

“It will allow for students and their parents to make the best decisions on whether to attend school, not to attend school, or take other measures based on the information they provide,” explains the SD91 guidelines.

The health check application is available as a website, an iPhone application, or as a Google Android application.

Last month, SD91 also held a virtual townhall hosted. The town hall was held on Jan 28. online, and was attended by over 50 parents, guardians and staff along with SD91 Superintendent Manu Madhok, NH regional nursing lead for children and youth Sarah Brown, the regional nursing lead for healthy schools Petrina Bryant and Dr. Rakel Kling, the medical health officer. The townhall had a presentation from NH on several commonly asked questions around COVID and schools. This presentation can be viewed on SD 91’s website.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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