Students, faculty, and staff are set to go back to in-person learning with a new set of COVID-19 protocols.
In an announcement on Tuesday, August 24th, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, joined Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside and Minister of Advanced Education Anne Kang, to lay out their plans for the education sector.
Students and faculty will be required to wear a mask in all indoor public areas on campus including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs.
Students in grades three and under will not be required to wear a mask.
The province said that there will be no vaccine requirements for students or teachers at schools, colleges, or universities. However, accessing non-essential services, such as on-campus indoor venues, gyms, restaurants, or sporting events, will require proof of vaccination.
Universities can mandate their own COVID-19 protocols regarding proof of vaccination.
The BC Centre for Disease Control and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer released COVID-19 guidelines for post-secondary institutions that can be found here.
Guidelines are being updated to reflect the new mask mandate and proof of vaccination card.
BC Teachers’ Federation expressed their support for mandatory vaccinations on Twitter, but also said they require more guidance on those who are medically-exempt from the COVID-19 vaccinations.
On mandatory vaccines, the BCTF would not oppose them for #bced. We would need to see details about protection of privacy and accommodations for workers with exemptions. In the meantime, we need to focus on masks for all, ventilation and distancing. #bcpoli
— BCTF (@bctf) August 24, 2021
In the same press conference, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that masks would be required in most indoor settings for all British Columbians12 and over.
Henry said this policy is a temporary health order that may change after BC’s vaccine cards are implemented on September 13th.
The mandatory mask mandate will begin Wednesday, August 25th.