British Columbia is expected to announce additional safety measures for schools across the province on Friday to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The announcement comes as Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby will expand the masks mandate on Monday to include all K-12 students.
Currently, schools in the province are mandated that students in grades 4-12 wear masks, as well as all adults in the school.
Provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry and education minister Jennifer Whiteside are expected to announce the measures at a press conference at 10:30 am Friday.
The announcement will be streamed live on this page and on BC1.
COVID-19: Surrey will make masks mandatory for all K-12 students
On Tuesday, Henry was asked why he wouldn’t expand the masks’ mandate, leaving local school boards to do so.
The province’s top doctor has been reluctant to extend the masks’ mandate, pointing to data showing transmission is higher among people ages nine to 11 than it is among ages five to eight. Both age groups cannot be vaccinated, but the 9-11 age group must currently wear masks.
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Still, Henry did not rule out the idea of eventually changing the mandate.
“We know that there are countless things we must have in schools to prevent transmission in the school setting,” Henry said.
“I have commissioned our school team to look at each individual situation and, in particular, the communities where we have higher transmission rates and lower vaccination rates to see what we need to do in the province to ensure that schools continue to function properly. safe way. . “
BC COVID-19 School Exposure Advisories Return, But Mask Expansion Not Required
The provincial data model provided by BC health officials on Tuesday showed that COVID-19 cases continue to rise among school-age children after returning from school in September.
Data shows that as of mid-September, children ages five to eight and those ages nine to 11 are leading the way for transmission of the virus.
As of this week, around 30 out of every 100,000 ages 9-11 in British Columbia are contracting COVID-19, and 22 out of 100,000 ages 5-8 are contracting the virus. The next highest age group is 18-39, at a rate of 15 out of 100,000.
The province did not provide similar data for ages zero to four.
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