A sign encouraging students to wear a mask in classrooms released Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (BCTF)

A sign encouraging students to wear a mask in classrooms released Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (BCTF)

BCTF asks parents to ‘create a culture of mask wearing’ as schools excluded from new rules

New indoor mask mandate does not include schools

The union representing B.C.’s teachers is asking students to mask up in schools despite being excluded from the province’s new COVID-19 rules.

In a statement posted to social media Friday (Nov. 20), the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) urged parents to talk to their kids about wearing masks.

“While masks are not mandatory at all times in schools, we’re hoping parents can help teachers create a culture of mask wearing,” the union stated.

“We need to be doing all we can to ensure we keep each other safe.”

The BCTF went on to note that while there are students and staff who cannot wear masks and some situations where masks aren’t appropriate, starting a conversation could still makes schools a safer space.

The union’s comments came a day after a new mask mandate was issued in B.C. The new rules require masks in all indoor public and retail spaces. However, face coverings continue to be mandatory for only high-traffic areas in middle and high schools. Classroom mask wearing is not required.

When asked about why the new rules excluded schools, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said they “are not public open spaces.”

“We don’t expect children to wear masks sitting at their desks all day long,” she said. However, older students in Ontario and some Quebec schools are required to wear masks while in their classrooms.

The province recorded 516 new cases on Friday, down from a high of 762 earlier this week. There were 10 deaths on Friday, just below the record daily death toll of 11 in B.C. earlier this week.

READ MORE: Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union calls on Horgan to limit Fraser Health class sizes to 15 students


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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