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

Smoke is visible from the Trans-Canada Highway, April 16 around 12:15 p.m. (Black Press Media photo)
UPDATED: Saanich fire crews truck in water as hog fuel fire smoulders

Multiple fire departments respond to area of Burnside West and Prospect Lake roads

A GoFundMe has been launched in memory of an eight-year-old boy who drowned at a Hotel Zed pool in Victoria on March 24. (Jane Andema/GoFundMe)
GoFundMe started in memory of 8-year-old boy who died at Hotel Zed pool

Child drowned after wandering off to the pool alone

This image shows northbound traffic on Highway 17 looking to turn west onto Keating Cross Road (far right top corner), crossing the southbound lane on Highway 17. A new flyover overpass promises to ease delays and improve safety, but the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce is calling for revisions in joining other critics. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce calls for revisions to Central Saanich flyover overpass

Chamber deems current proposal necessary but insufficient in calling for full movement interchange

The Capital Regional Hospital District has approved awarding a tender to QM Environmental for the demolition and hazardous materials disposal of the Oak Bay Lodge. (Black Press Media File)
Winning bidder approved for Oak Bay Lodge demolition

Capital Regional Hospital District board approves $4.266 million budget for project

Rendering of the floating market space that is part of one of the two proposals for the Turkey Head and Oak Bay Marina properties. (Courtesy District of Oak Bay)
Oak Bay Marina questionnaire nets hundreds of responses

Mayor Kevin Murdoch impressed by the quality, quantity of input on two proposals

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds, amenities coming to B.C. parks as part of $82M provincial boost

This camping season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

The Nanaimo Clippers’ game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs slated for Thursday, April 15, has been postponed due to a “potential positive COVID-19 test result,” says the BCHL. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers COVID-19 test negative, team can practise and play

Junior A hockey team had suspended activities the day before out of ‘abundance of caution’

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

Most Read