Province, SD8 now require all school-aged children to wear masks in class


Staff member
By Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

All school-aged children are now mandated to wear a mask while in class starting Monday as the province continues to tighten the controls on society in the midst of the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Oct. 4 all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 attending school — as well as staff and visitors to schools — must wear a mask while inside the schools, including while at their desks and on buses, provincial health officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Friday.
School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) will also comply with the order, issuing its own directive Friday as well, aligned with the PHO.
That overturns an earlier decision when the school year started in September to require only children from Grade 4 and up to wear a mask while in school.
However, the province’s regulations are not relevant to children in distributed learning (including learning in non-traditional settings) or homeschooling, but are recommended.
Even though Dr. Henry noted “schools continue to be considered low-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission,” she said that vaccines were the “most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools.”
She went on to say that people who were not vaccinated were at higher risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
“Most COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are now among unvaccinated adults, and are predominantly occurring in communities with lower general vaccination uptake,” her provincial directive released on Friday stated.
“While children under 12 are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, they continue to be less likely to get and spread COVID-19 and have a low risk of serious outcomes if they do get COVID-19. It is strongly recommended that adults interacting with children under 12 be fully vaccinated.”
In the provincial order the PHO stated that “vaccines used in B.C. are highly effective against COVID-19, including among variants of concern.
“Vaccinated people aged 12 and older tend to have...continued

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