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News Skip Navigation LinksFeb. 8 video message from Supt. Jordan Tinney: The province's new COVID-19 guidelines & how they impact mask protocols

Feb 08
Feb. 8 video message from Supt. Jordan Tinney: The province's new COVID-19 guidelines & how they impact mask protocols

Superintendent Jordan Tinney has prepared the video update above to review the province's new health guidelines for schools and explain what they mean for our students, staff and parents. For many, the biggest change is about masks. Tinney walks us through the new language in the re-vamped guidelines, noting "these changes have increased the requirements for masks for all staff and students in our schools and there are significant changes for elementary children."

For elementary:

  • Elementary students' mask use should be based on their personal or family/caregiver's choice.
  • Previously, the BC Centre for Disease Control's guidelines stated masks were not recommended for elementary-age students. After learning how the virus moves, the guidelines now state that "masks can be safely worn by school-age children."

For secondary:

  • Staff and students should wear masks in all indoor areas. This now applies to inside the classroom as well as outside; and within your cohort as well as outside your cohort.
  • The only exceptions are when they are at their desk/workstation, if they are actively eating/drinking, or if there is a barrier in place.

The guidelines also mention "middle school," which in other districts refers to Grade 6-8 students. Surrey does not have middle schools – our Grade 6 and 7s are in elementary school, so how do we proceed? Here are some guidelines for upper-elementary grades:

  • Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing, but part of a package of precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19;
  • Once again, the guidelines have been updated to state it's safe for elementary students to wear masks and that they have a role to play protecting the wearer and those around them;
  • The decision to wear a mask is based on personal/family choice. Some students may be unable to wear a mask. Choice and personal circumstances must be respected.

And lastly, please continue to conduct health checks every day prior to sending your children to school. The Daily Health Check form allows for a personal review of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms should stay home & follow instructions on the checklist. The form has been translated into multiple languages, which can be found HERE.

You can also view the video at, where there are written transcripts in English, Punjabi, Chinese and Arabic.


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