Last week, the provincial health officer announced changes to public health orders. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has updated its guidance to the K-12 sector on the preventative measures needed to limit the spread of COVID in schools. As of February 18, some of the enhanced measures implemented earlier this year have been rescinded.
All schools and other learning environments can return to the preventative measures outlined in the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings. These are the preventative measures that were in place at the start of the school year. This means:
- School gatherings and events (i.e., assemblies) with students from the same school no longer have specific capacity limits.
- Indoor extracurricular activities should not exceed 50 percent capacity or 50 people (whichever is greater).
- Spectators are permitted for gatherings and events (e.g., performances, sports events) within capacity limits.
- Schools should not implement proof of vaccination requirements for school-led gatherings and events.
- Visitors are no longer limited to those supporting activities of direct benefit to student learning and wellbeing.
As a reminder, masks are still required for staff, students and visitors while indoors in schools and school buses.
Take-home COVID test expanding
The provincial government has announced that K-12 students will soon be supplied with take-home rapid antigen tests. In the coming weeks, each student will be given a five pack of the rapid tests for home use. No specific timeline has been announced yet, but the tests are expected to be distributed through schools in the coming weeks.