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Provincial government outlines requirements for masks at BC schools

(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)

The BC Government announced updated operational guidelines on how to best keep schools safe for students, teachers, and staff including those in School District 57.

Masks will be required for staff, middle and secondary students in high traffic areas such as buses and in common areas or anytime outside of their learning group whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Exceptions will be made for students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons.

Even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group.

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The ministry is providing additional funding to school districts that will support the purchase of up to 1.5 million masks, enough for every public-school staff member and student to have at least two masks.

Canadian Shield is donating an additional 54,500 face shields for K-12 schools in B.C.

Other health and safety guidelines include:

* increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, desks, and chairs;

* increased hand hygiene with all students, staff, and visitors being required to clean their hands before boarding school buses and entering school buildings, before and after eating, using the washroom and using playground equipment; and

* school districts may also install transparent barriers for people who have more contact with others, such as front-desk staff, bus drivers, or food services staff, where appropriate.

The Province is providing an additional $45.6 million to school districts for enhanced cleaning, handwashing stations, reusable masks, and other safety measures.

School districts will communicate further details about their plans that will be posted online by August 26th.

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