Grade school and post-secondary students will have to bring their masks when they return to in-class learning next month.

Provincial Health officials provided an update on health guidelines for BC students that are returning to class on September 7th.

Community members, staff, students, and visitors in Grade 4-12 will be required to wear non-medical masks in schools, while proof of vaccination won’t be required.

K-3 students will not be required to wear a mask, however, it is being recommended.

Additionally, there will no longer be cohorts or learning groups in BC schools, as Dr.Bonnie Henry says the risk of virus transmission isn’t a concern in classroom settings and is more of a risk in communal areas.

“The mask requirement that was in place last spring, will continue in place to start this upcoming school year, this means all K-12 staff and all students in 4-12 will wear nonmedical masks in all indoor areas of the school including classrooms and school busses,” said  Jennifer Whiteside, BC’s Minister of Education.

Mask policies for extracurricular activities will follow any local, regional or provincial health orders in the community.

Meanwhile, in post-secondary institutions Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced a proof of vaccination will be required for students living on campus and participating in student life.

“People must be vaccinated to live in student housing, to go to a pub, to go to gyms including varsity students, to attend an indoor club meeting like joining a choir. And of course, the same proof of vaccination will also be required for activities that can be a big part of student life like indoor concerts and attending sports events,” said Kang.

As part of the new provincial vaccine requirement, accessing some non-essential services including gyms, nightclubs, restaurants, and other indoor events on campus will now require proof of vaccination.

Dr. Henry said this policy will be phased in to ensure all post-secondary students have timely access to immunization.

Additionally, a mask order will apply in all indoor public areas on campus including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms, and labs.

Vaccine clinics are being planned on campuses across BC in partnership with local health authorities.

“Colleges and universities may choose to adopt their own vaccine policies or ask for proof of vaccination that go beyond those set out for provincial order, those that do so should work with public health and will be responsible for doing their own due diligence,” King added.

Doctor Henry added that while these school guidelines will come into effect on September 7th, public health will be working to ensure everyone involved in school communities will have access to immunization.

Earlier today (Tuesday), it was announced that masks will be required once again in most public spaces in BC, which followed yesterday’s (Monday) announcement that vaccine cards will soon be required to enter many BC businesses.