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North Okanagan-Shuswap School District orders 6,000 masks as they are now mandatory in classrooms

Schools order 6,000 masks

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District has ordered 6,000 face masks for students in light of new provincial pandemic guidelines.

School District 83 Supt. Peter Jory says the district is redistributing its existing inventory and has rush-ordered the reusable masks for its younger students.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry amended public health orders as of midnight March 30 to require that students in grades 4 to 12 wear masks while indoors at school, including when they are with their learning group.

Students in kindergarten to Grade 3 are also strongly encouraged to wear a mask in school and on school buses.

Jory says that as soon as schools are adequately resourced, the new safety protocols will be put in place.

“Some students may have masks that they are able to bring from home and may be wearing them already. But some students may not. Principals and teachers will be implementing the changes as soon as there are enough masks for all their students,” Jory said in a press release.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said in announcing the changes: “Rising case levels, variants of concern, increased transmission and an increase in more severe cases are huge concerns ... B.C. public health officials are making the tough choices now to break the chain and protect our communities.”

School exemptions include:

  • A person who is unable to wear a mask because they do not tolerate it.
  • A person unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person.
  • If the mask is removed temporarily for the purposes of identifying the person wearing it.
  • If a person is eating or drinking.
  • If a person is behind a barrier.
  • While providing services to a person with a disability or diverse ability (including but not limited to a hearing impairment), where visual cues, facial expressions and/or lip reading/movements are important.

If parents have any questions about the new protocols, they are encouraged to contact their school principal.

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