As of Monday, Oct. 4, students in all Grades will be now be required to wear masks when they enter a school in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The Ministry of Education made the announcement Friday morning, after mounting pressure to mandate masks for students in kindergarten to Grade 3.
The announcement comes on the heels of decisions made by the Vancouver, Surrey, and Burnaby school districts to make masks mandatory for all of their students. Harry Dhillon, superintendent for SD42, posted a letter Friday afternoon informing parents of the upcoming mandate that will require all students to wear a mask when entering a school – including while at their desks – and on buses.
UPDATE FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS/STUDENTS: Please visit your school or District website to view an information bulletin from our Superintendent outlining updated mask wearing guidelines for students in K-12. Read here: https://t.co/zVPrYsSaoc #MySD35Community pic.twitter.com/lJm5mImJAZ
— Langley Schools (@LangleySchools) October 2, 2021
“Because we recognize that many students in grades K-3 may not be used to wearing masks, teachers will spend October 4 and 5 helping children adjust to this change, with the goal of building mask wearing into student routines by Wednesday, October 6,” said Dhillon.
“We suggest you send your K-3 child to school with a clean mask and a spare mask that they are used to wearing,” he said adding schools will also have disposable masks available.
He also notified parents and caregivers about the province’s change in the notification process for school exposures, informing them that exposure notifications for the district on the Fraser Health school exposures page online.
Mask requirements, Dhillon reminded parents, do not apply: to those who cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons; for people who are unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person; if the mask has to be removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it; if the mask has to be removed temporarily to engage in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask; when a person is eating or drinking; if a person is behind a barrier; or while providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability where visual cues or facial expressions like lip reading movements is important.
He also said that “the guidelines stipulate that schools must not require a health-care provider note to confirm if staff staff, students or visitors cannot wear a mask”.
“No student should be prevented from attending or fully participating at school if they do not wear a mask,” added Dhillon.
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