Updated guidelines for mask use in schools
In an effort to address cohorting challenges and further protect the health safety of our school communities, the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning is updating its mask policy in schools.
Starting Monday, November 30 and in effect for at least two weeks, non-medical masks will be required for staff and students in grades 10-12 at all times indoors except for the following exemptions:
- When staff and students are able to physically distance within a classroom (6ft/2m);
- Eating or drinking;
- Participating in a physical activity (e.g. gym);
- Engaging in an activity which prevents them from doing so (e.g. playing a wind instrument);
- When it poses a safety concern (e.g. welding); or
- When a school assesses wearing a non-medical mask is not in the best interest of a student due to physical, medical or other factors.
Additionally, all visitors to schools, k-12, are required to wear masks at all times while indoors.
These updated guidelines apply to both PSB and CSLF schools and will be reviewed and a further update provided in early December.
“Because of the good work of islanders in following the health and safety protocols of the Chief Public Health Office, our students have been able to learn in-class with minimal disruptions unlike other provinces and territories,” said Minister Trivers. “As the second wave continues to be felt across the country including our neighbouring provinces, now is the time to increase precautions to help maintain the health and safety of our island communities. Physical distancing and cohorting are a concern at the high school level so we are taking these additional measures to be proactive. We will continue to adjust our back to school plans as necessary to ensure a successful and safe school year for students and staff.”
Wearing a facial covering/non-medical mask in the community is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. However, it can be an additional measure you can take to protect others around you, even if you have no symptoms.
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Non-medical mask use in educational environments
- All students and staff shall wear a non-medical mask on the school bus.
- Bus drivers shall wear a non-medical mask when not seated, facing forward or driving the bus.
- Students in grades K-6 are recommended to wear a non-medical mask indoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. (not changed)
- It is strongly recommended that students in grades 7-9 wear non-medical masks indoors at school when physical distancing cannot be maintained. (not changed)
- Students in grade 7- 9 shall wear a non-medical mask indoors during transitions and during scheduled emergency drills. (not changed)
- Students in grades 10-12 shall wear a non-medical mask indoors, except when, eating or drinking, participating in a physical activity (e.g. gym), engaged in an activity which prevents them from doing so (e.g. playing a wind instrument), or when it poses a safety concern (e.g. welding). Wearing a non-medical mask is not required when students are in a classroom and able to physically distance (6ft/2m). (updated guidance)
- Staff working with students in grades 10-12 shall wear a non-medical mask indoors, except when eating or drinking, and when participating in a physical activity, (e.g. gym), engaged in an activity which prevents them from doing so (e.g. playing a wind instrument), when it poses a safety concern (e.g. welding) or when they are able to physically distance (6ft/2m) from all other individuals. (updated guidance).
- All staff shall wear a non-medical mask indoors in common areas, during transitions, during scheduled emergency drills and whenever they are unable to maintain physical distance (6ft/2m) from others (not changed).
- All visitors to schools shall wear a non-medical mask indoors at all times (updated guidance).