SD42 superintendent Harry Dhillon has updated school COVID-19 guidelines. (SD42/Special to The News)

SD42 superintendent Harry Dhillon has updated school COVID-19 guidelines. (SD42/Special to The News)

Masks now optional in schools across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Inter-school events with spectators expected to be at 100 per cent capacity come April 7

Masks are now optional and classrooms can be reconfigured to suit the needs of students in schools across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Starting Monday, March 14, SD42 incorporated updated provincial COVID-19 guidelines, announced March 10 by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, for students in kindergarten to Grade 12.

“The decision to wear a mask or face covering will be a personal choice for staff, students and visitors,” said SD42 superintendent Harry Dhillon in a letter posted on the school district website for parents and caregivers. He added that a person’s choice is to be supported and respected.

Dhillon also announced that inter-school events and those with parent spectators should not exceed 50 per cent capacity – until April 7, when the Provincial Health Gatherings and Events Order is expected to be lifted. Then capacity will be increased to 100 per cent.

Proof of vaccination will not be implemented.

Although classroom desks can now be arranged to best suit activities and the learning environment, strategies to create space between people should still be considered, said Dhillon.

READ MORE: Mask mandate lifts in B.C. Friday, COVID vaccine card program to end April 8

ALSO: Alberta ends almost all COVID-19 restrictions

Routine sign in and out practices have also returned. Schools will no longer be keeping a list of dates, names and contact information for communicable disease prevention purposes.

Routine pick-up and drop-off practices are also being followed.

The new guidelines will apply to students when they return from March break. Except for Kanaka Creek elementary, whose students follow a balanced calendar, the new rules went into effect on Monday.

“We expect to receive another update to K-12 guidelines mid-April and will share that update with you at that time,” said Dhillon.

Dhillon is also asking asking families who are travelling over the March break to review and follow any federal requirements posted on the Government of Canada website.

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