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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Raising more than $1,300 for the KVHS’s dementia home project, Dennis and Brenda Horwood leave Kitimat with a bang and start their new retirement journey together. (Photo supplied)
KVHS thanks local Kitimat couple for their contributions to the dementia home project

Dennis and Brenda Horwood raise $1,360 during a retirement garage sale

No increase in fees will be made by the leisure services department in the summer months. Reviews will be made again in May/June for any recommended fee adjustments in the fall. (District of Kitimat photo)
District of Kitimat halt leisure fee increases until the fall

The Leisure Services Advisory Commission recommended no increase take place at this time

Mount Elizabeth Theatre have been approved for a provision of funding by city council for up to $42,000. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat’s multi-use theatre grant request approved for live streaming equipment

A funding commitment of up to $42,000 was granted from council to the Mount Elizabeth Theatre

Tracy Owen-Best with her husband, Larry Best. Tracy runs both the Nechako Barbershop and Hair Essentials Salon in Kitimat. Diagnosed with cancer in March 2020, she’s kept a positive mindset with the help from a supportive family. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Tracy Owen-Best

Barbershop owner and cancer fighter keeps it positive

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read