The Vancouver School Board is the first district to mandate masks for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3. BC’s guidelines require staff, visitors, and students from Grade 4 and up to wear masks in schools, but children younger than that weren’t required to wear masks.

The motion was brought in by two trustees, Barb Parrott and Allan Wong, and it was passed on Monday. This decision comes into effect due to concerns regarding the Delta variant and the consequent rise of cases among children. There have been a handful of school closures in the Lower Mainland recently, due to COVID-19 outbreaks including Promontory Heights Elementary in Chilliwack and Maple Ridge Christian School.

“There was anxiety and stress and confusion. There has been a lot of communication in emails to us in regard to vulnerable people — vulnerable students or vulnerable family members of students.” said Wong after the motion passed. (via News1130)

The same rules and grounds will apply to the younger students as they do to the older students. Medical exemptions will be available for those who require them and are eligible.

The Board is working out the details and hopes to roll out the mandate with specific considerations and instructions in the next few days.

This could possibly set the precedent for other school districts to follow. “I think there is increased risk for all kids during a pandemic when they are sent into a classroom with between 20 and 30 kids, no masks, and questionable ventilation. That is a risk,” said Kyenta Martins from Safe Schools Coalition BC. (via News 1130)