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

(Black Press files)
Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. McDonald, QC reviewed the evidence and determined reasonable grounds exist to believe in officer may have committed offenses. (Black Press files)
Crown considering charges against Williams Lake Mountie after high-speed pursuit: police watchdog

IIO says the man, who was arrested, sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries from the incident

An RCMP cruiser flashes its light as it speeds up Highway 97. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Officers suffer minor injuries after a fight with a prohibited driver

The 44-year-old man resisted arrest and shoved an officer to the ground

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Ken Jensen is launching a campaign to keep access to his audio library books. (Photo submitted).
White Cane Club president lobbies to preserve audio book access

Ken Jensen is urging others to send letters to federal government to preserve funding for CELA.

Sarah Smith is a bereavement worker with 100 Mile Hospice. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
‘Grief never goes away’: Hospice seeks to add programs

Growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read