Students between grades 4 and 12 will be wearing masks for now. (Pixabay)

Students between grades 4 and 12 will be wearing masks for now. (Pixabay)

Most students in Comox Valley to wear masks as of April 6

K to Grade 3 students are encouraged but not required to wear them

As of Tuesday, April 6, students in Grade 4 and up will be wearing masks for the time-being, as they return from spring break.

Comox Valley Schools announced the move following new provincial health orders on March 29 and an update from the Ministry of Education, in response to a hike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

Everyone including staff in all grades, volunteers, visitors and students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 will have to wear masks at all times while inside buildings or riding a school bus. Masks must also be worn outside if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The school district news release also mentioned cases for exemptions: if someone cannot wear a mask for health or behavioural reasons; is unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance from another person; if it is temporarily removed for someone to identify themselves; if the person is engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed with a mask such as playing a wind instrument; while eating or drinking; is behind a barrier; or providing a service to a person with a disability or diverse ability, where visual cues, facial expressions, or lip reading or movements are important.

While not mandatory, students from kindergarten to Grade 3 are also encouraged to wear masks within these guidelines.

Some have been calling for masks in schools, including the BC Teachers’ Federation.

“B.C. teachers have been calling on the government, health officials and school districts to enhance health and safety measures in our schools for months,” BCTF president Teri Mooring said in a news release. “From inconsistent mask use and poor ventilation to an inability to maintain physical distance in our classrooms, people are incredibly frustrated with how inadequate COVID-19 prevention measures have been in our schools.”

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents educational assistants, support staff and bus drivers, among other employees, also backed the move, describing it as “welcome news” to supplement current safety measures required by the provincial guidelines and school district COVID safety plans.

RELATED STORY: No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

Through early 2021, schools have been subject to reports of exposures, including several in the Comox Valley starting in February. Despite the increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, there were only two exposures in Vancouver Island schools as of April 1, with none locally. Following earlier school cases, public health officials explained in early March there had been no secondary exposures in school communities and that the cases had resulted from other social contact.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
Island Health says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most of its communities

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Col. Bryn Elliott is the new wing commander of 19 Wing Comox. Photo submitted
New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

The ceremony was presided over virtually by the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

The new childcare centre on Denman Island opened in April. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
New Denman Island childcare facility opens

The facility offers 20 new licensed care spaces

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Euthanasia not the only outcome for Fanny Bay cougar

Conservations officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial: Victim left to conclude out-of-court settlement on the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander in death of John Dillon Brown continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Most Read