A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in the Surrey school district on March 12, 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in the Surrey school district on March 12, 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Masks now required ‘at all times’ in this B.C. school district for grades 4-12

Superintendent says it’s a new order from Fraser Health, specific to the district

The Surrey school district is implementing new district-specific orders from Fraser Health, including that masks must be worn “at all times” indoors for students in grades 4 to 12.

In a tweet from district superintendent Jordan Tinney Saturday (March 27), he said the new orders would be implemented immediately.

“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,” Tinney writes in a letter to staff.

He adds the order is specific to the district.

“With the increasing trend in community incidence of COVID-19 in the Surrey region. and the corresponding likelihood of increasing exposures in Surrey schools, our district will begin implementation of an additional measure, mandated by public health for our schools.”

The new measures require all K-12 staff and students in grades 4 to 12 “to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are in their learning groups.”

Exceptions include individuals who are unable to wear face coverings because of psychological, behavioral or health conditions; cognitive or intellectual impairment; or individuals who are unable to put on or remove a face covering without the assistance of another person.

Students and staff also don’t have to wear a mask if they’re actively eating or drinking or while communicating with someone who is hearing impaired.

For K-3, Tinney said, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer “strongly recommends and encourages the wearing of non-medical mask.”

This comes just two days before staff and students are set to return to schools on Monday (March 29) following a two-week spring break.

And it’s been a busy spring break for the district.

On March 13, the Surrey school district announced new “targeted” COVID-19 health and safety measures as it has “experienced more school-based exposures than any other district in our province.”

Those new measures include limiting adult contact in schools, adjusting maintenance schedules and routines and making sure families vacate school grounds immediately after school. The district is also looking to change elementary start times to accommodate common preparation time for teachers in the morning to “eliminate the need for cross cohort instruction.”

READ MORE: Surrey school district implements new COVID-19 health, safety measures, March 13, 2021

READ MORE: Surrey school staff to be vaccinated by April 1, March 23, 2021

Then this week, the district announced all school-based staff would be vaccinated by April 1, just days after the provincial government announced priority vaccine groups that included K-12 educators.

Staff started receiving their vaccines March 24.

Of the district, the priority areas would be all schools in Panorama-Sullivan, City Centre and Newton-Fleetwood, before moving onto the rest of the district.

Tinney made that announcement the day after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talked about the virus risk in Surrey.

Henry said the number of cases in Surrey has prompted health officials to consider giving vaccine priority to Surrey educators over other teachers in the province.

Surrey is, “by far,” the highest risk area in the province, Henry said.

“We don’t have enough vaccine to do everyone in the school system right now, so we will be prioritizing where the risk is greatest,” Henry said.

– With files from Aaron Hinks

RELATED: ‘We really had to change everything’: Surrey schools continue to adapt to COVID-19 changes, March 18, 2021



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

CoronavirusEducationSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins will leave for Vernon’s school district at the end of the academic year. Photo: Submitted
School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins resigns

Perkins is leaving to take over another district

The Kootenay Lake ferry terminals will receive a number of upgrades this year. File photo
Kootenay Lake ferry terminals to receive upgrades

The transportation ministry announced the $5.5-million project Thursday

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read