Dr. Bonnie Henry (Colin Smith Takes Pics)

Beginning this Monday, October 4th, masks will now be required in every grade in all school settings.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside, announced the extension for the mask mandate on Friday morning.

Masks will now be required from kindergarten to grade 12 when sitting at a desk, inside a school building, and on school busses.

This builds on the existing guidelines for grades 4 to 12.

Dr. Henry also announced that BC health officials will be providing monthly updates on COVID-19 and how the virus is affecting school-aged children after increased pressure from parents of school children and media.

Days ago, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that masking in kindergarten to grade three was not necessary. However, several school districts in BC had already implemented the mask policy for all students, including the Vancouver and Surrey school districts.

“This pandemic continues to evolve and so do we,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“We need to make changes to fit the situation as it’s arising. We know the COVID-19 virus is being transmitted more rapidly, particularly to those who don’t have the protection that vaccination offers. This extra measure adds another layer of protection as we navigate this phase of the pandemic.”

Schools will also be implementing other preventative measures including daily health checks, hand washing, staying home when sick and improved ventilation systems, and staggered recesses, lunch breaks and class transition times.

The province will start making a COVID-19 gargle test available to schools and at pharmacies soon.