After province-wide restrictions were issued to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 infections in BC, School District 57 says it will continue to follow the strict guidelines put in place.

Masks are to be worn in all indoor public spaces, however, this does not include schools according to Doctor Henry.

In a statement, the District says Public Health is focusing on the higher risk activities, which have caused a ‘spillover’ of cases into other aspects of the community.

According to the District, a positive test does not typically come from the school environment, and individuals are much more likely to catch the virus elsewhere.

“As a board we have to ask ourselves what problem we are trying to fix in schools? There is abundant evidence that schools are safe. Students and staff within schools are safe. It is clear our health authority approved safety plans and protocols are working,” said Board Chair Trent Derrick.

Masks are mandatory in secondary schools, the District says, and visitors are not permitted if they are not wearing one.

Students are also not allowed to congregate in halls or other high traffic areas without a mask, but, there are also structured times during the day where students can go mask free.

In the case of elementary schools, masks are required in certain situations, the District added.

“Children and youth have been disproportionately impacted by the controls the province has put in place. Their mental health is a serious concern and it is important that schools remain safe and open in order to maintain some sense of normalcy,” said Superintendant Anita Richardson.

She added that she is happy to see the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health being researched and taken seriously.