With all K-12 [Kindergarten to Grade 12] schools now back in session, the provincial government has updated COVID-19 guidelines. According to a press release from School District 54 (SD54), most of the measures from last school year will remain in effect, with a few key changes.
The measures that remain from last year include daily health checks before students and staff come to school, diligent handwashing which will be encouraged throughout the day, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces which will occur at least once every 24 hours.
SD54 says in the press release that although public health no longer recommends strict physical distancing of two metres, schools will use strategies to help with respecting personal space and making use of outdoor space as appropriate.
Visitors in schools will continue to be carefully managed and documented in alignment with the current provincial guidelines. All prospective visitors will need to complete a daily health check and sign in with their contact information.
All K-12 staff, visitors, and students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas of the school and on school buses. Students in kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged to wear masks.
As for the changes, learning groups are no longer recommended by public health, as a COVID-19 mitigation measure will not be used. Extra curricular sports and activities will resume and gatherings and events can occur if public health guidelines are followed.
Beginning on Sept. 13, all persons ages 12 and up will be required to provide a COVID-19 vaccination passport to access various business, events, and services in accordance with the B.C. government’s province wide mandate, however this does not include K-12 schools or any before-and-after school programs such as athletics.
Though they are not mandatory in schools, vaccines are the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools and communities according to public health. Public health strongly encourages all eligible students (12+) and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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