Burnaby school trustees mandate masks for all students

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — Burnaby is now the third school district in Metro Vancouver to make masks mandatory for all students.

Following a unanimous decision at a Special Board Meeting Thursday, the Burnaby Board of Education has expanded the current provincial mandate for Grades 4 to 12 to include students from Kindergarten to Grade 3.

This follows the lead of the Vancouver School Board and Surrey Board of Education, who took a similar step earlier this week.

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Chair Jen Mezei says this change is set to take effect Monday when all students will be required to wear masks inside schools “unless medically, developmentally, behaviourally or otherwise legitimately precluded from doing so.”

While school staff have encouraged students to wear face coverings before the updated mandate, Mezei says she expects there to be a bit of pushback.

“Regardless of the decisions you make, you always have people who feel strongly in multiple different ways about the decisions you make,” she says.

“As trustees, we’re not epidemiologists, and we’re not public health officials. We are people who care deeply about our community, about our students, and our staff and their safety. And the health and safety measures that we’ve implemented in Burnaby, have been consistently guided by the advice of public health and specialists in public health.”

Mezei stresses staff will continue to work with students and families in a positive and supportive way to encourage the use of masks.

On Friday, New Westminster’s school board plans to re-visit a mask mandate for schools in the city after voting earlier this week against expanding the requirement.

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