SOSS Students & Parents:
As of Tuesday, February 16th, SOSS will implement the new Provincial H & S Guidelines for K-12 Settings. The changes to these guidelines can be simplified by asking this question: “When can students and staff remove their masks?”
Students and Staff May Remove Their Masks
- They are outside
- There is a barrier in place
- They are standing or sitting at their “work station“
- They are eating or drinking
(There are also some special situations where students in PE can remove their mask but this will be explained to PE students by the PE staff.)
- The “new” guidelines are actually “enhanced” guidelines that are intended to increase school safety and further decrease the risk of transmission within schools.
- The enhanced guidelines main goal is to reduce the number of close, prolonged, face-to-face interactions that individuals in school have with one another. (Prolonged face-to-face interaction has proven to be the main source of transmission.)
- Although schools are relatively safe places with few cases of transmission, the risk to school attendees can be further reduced with the enhanced measures.
- As the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health understand more about the virus, they will respond by making changes to health and safety protocols, as they have done recently.
Clarifications and Guidelines:
- The need to physically distance is applicable in any and every situation, with or without a mask. No safety measure ever replaces physical distancing and should be practiced wherever and wheneve
- A student’s “work-station” is their regular place to sit or stand in class. A teacher’s “work-station” includes their desk area and standing or sitting at the front of the class. A teacher’s work-station should have a 2-metre perimeter. Teachers must wear a mask anytime they are within 2-metres of students regardless of whether they are at their work-station or not.
- While students may take off their mask for eating and drinking, these two activities should only take place when students are at their work-station or in their designated areas.
- The newest guidelines state that student work-stations should not face each other. Seated side-by-side at a table is acceptable while desks facing each other is not.
- Upon entering a class, students need to wear a mask until they reach their “work station”. Anytime they need to leave their work station, even within the classroom (turn in an assignment, sharpen a pencil, see the teacher, etc), students must wear a mask.
- As students must wear a mask in all common areas (hallways, buses, library, etc), students may not eat or drink in common areas.
- When students are in their “designated spaces”, they must wear a mask except when eating or drinking. Students must wear a mask when they are seated, playing a game, visiting, etc.
- There is nothing in the new guidelines that removes any previous measures. For example, learning groups, directional markings, hand-washing, designated spaces, limited bathroom occupants, limited gathering size, twice daily cleaning, stay home when sick, etc. all continue to be in place.