Guidance for Prevention
Attending school in person is important for a student’s education and well-being. Every school in B.C. has an approved COVID-19 health and safety plan. This plan details what a school must do to operate safely. Since no public health measure is perfect, the plan has multiple layers of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The resources below provide school administrators with the information they need to implement safety measures.
Masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They act as a barrier and help stop the spread of droplets from a person’s mouth and nose when talking, laughing, yelling, singing, coughing, or sneezing. Wearing a mask should be combined with other important protective measures such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.
A mask is not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on its own. They should not be used in place of physical distancing or any other measures noted in this guidance. Masks can be safely worn by school-aged children.
Elementary students’ mask use should be based on their personal or family/caregiver’s choice.
K-12 staff and middle/secondary students should wear a mask indoors at school except when:
- Sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom or learning space; or
- There is a barrier in place; or
- Eating or drinking.
K-12 staff and middle/secondary students should wear a mask on buses.
Refer to your employer’s COVID-19 Safety Plan for when masks are required. Further guidance for staff use of masks in office settings (both within school buildings, as well as in other office settings) is available from WorkSafe BC
- Even if you are wearing a mask it is important to practice physical distancing.
- Learn more about masks on the BCCDC website.
- Further guidance is available from WorkSafeBC.
- Learn how to properly wear a mask
Mask recommendations have been updated to reflect what we have learned here in BC, as well as evidence from Canada and internationally. We now know that masks provide some protection to both the wearer and those around them, and they can be safely worn by children. The use of masks in schools now better reflects their use in other community and workplace settings across the province.
Students can sit at the same table together.
It is best if they are not seated directly face-to-face and are spaced out as much as possible. This is especially important for older students in middle and secondary schools.
Minimizing close, prolonged, face-to-face interactions is a recommended measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools.
Schools can use the COVID-19 Health & Safety Checklist
to assess their school safety plan. This outlines key health and safety measures that should be in place to help keep schools low-risk settings.