All students will need to wear masks in School District 52, starting Oct. 4, the Ministry of Education stated, in a province-wide announcement, on Oct. 1.
Kindergarten through Grade 3 students, who were previously exempt, will be required to wear a mask when inside a school building. This requirement also extends to the same students riding on school buses.
“It will make everybody safer,” Gabriel Bureau, president of the Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union, told The Northern View.
The union has been advocating since Nov. 2020 for all students to wear masks, he added.
Bureau said a motion was passed by the local union, on Sept. 28, to ask the government for the inclusion of K to Grade 3 in the provincial mask mandate, however, the most recent announcement this action is no longer necessary.
“It’s really about protecting students, protecting staff also. We know that when we look at the province, right now, there is a lot of transmission among the young students,” Bureau said.
“The whole point is not to wait. There are cases transmitting [and] because when they transfer, of course, they spread like wildfire. So, the best thing is prevention,” he said.
Bureau knows that many teachers will be happy with this announcement.
“I hope parents are feeling safer for the students,” Bureau said. “For the large majority of the parents, it should be a relief to know that their kids will be safe and they will therefore be safer.”
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View