The Vancouver School Board is extending the mask mandate in public schools to include all students from Kindergarten to Grade 3.
The motion was passed Monday evening, and the the decision was posted on Twitter. The board said more information about the new policy would be released in the coming days.
This makes Vancouver the first school district in B.C. to extend the mask mandate to all students. Under the current B.C. mandate, all students from Grade 4 to Grade 12 must wear masks, with some exceptions.
COVID-19 cases in kids have jumped dramatically in B.C. with Delta variant and a return to school. For example, last week in the Fraser Health region, the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases among children under 10 was 39. A year ago it was four.
The B.C. government announced the mask policy in August much to the relief of many parents and teachers, but still some have been calling for stricter measures given the rise in cases.
Some parents and teachers who were worried about the fourth wave of COVID-19 hitting just as school was starting back up again called for all students to wear masks in class.
Matt Westphal, president of the Surrey Teachers Association, said in August that they were disappointed the plan did not go further to include students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
He called the refusal to order masks for younger students “a significant gap and a missed opportunity.”
Teri Mooring, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, also said they would have liked to see stronger measures given the severity of the Delta variant.
-with files from Joanne Lee-Young and Nathan Griffiths