Students returning to school this morning are no longer required to wear a mask. (surreyschools.ca photo)

Students returning to school this morning are no longer required to wear a mask. (surreyschools.ca photo)

Masks now a matter of choice for Surrey district students, staff

Updated provincial-health order took effect on first day of spring break

Spring break is now in the rear-view for 2022, and that means students heading back to school this morning in Surrey and White Rock no longer have to ensure they’ve packed a face mask.

Under new provincial health guidelines announced earlier this month – which took effect on the first day of spring break – the face coverings are no longer required for any staff or students.

They had been required for Grades 4 to 12 since school returned last September, and the Surrey Board of Education extended that requirement to kindergarten to Grade 3 the following month.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Surrey school board mandates masks for all grades

READ MORE: BCTF call for vaccine education program, better ventilation in schools as mask mandate lifts

On Sunday (March 27), ahead of the post-spring-break return to class, the Surrey School District posted a summary of the updated guidelines to its website.

Those include that masks may still be worn if desired, and that “this choice will be supported and treated with respect in all our schools.”

As well, anyone who holidayed over spring break must continue to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors for 14 days following their return to Canada, the guidelines note.

Visitors are also allowed back, the guidelines continue, with pre-pandemic sign in/sign out practices and no need for schools to keep a list of names, dates and contact information for communicable-disease-prevention purposes.

Indoor school gatherings are still limited to 50 per cent capacity, however, proof of vaccination is not required to attend school-led gatherings and events. The gathering limit is expected to lift as of April 8.

And, while schools are advised to consider strategies for creating space between students, classroom arrangements may also return to pre-pandemic configurations.

Daily health checks and diligent hand hygiene should continue, the guidelines add.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
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