October 1, 2021
Dear First Nations Schools,
Today, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Ministry of Education released updated public health guidance for K-12 schools, expanding the mask guidance to include students from Kindergarten to Grade 3.
According to the updated BCCDC guidance, all staff, adult volunteers and visitors, and K-12 students should wear a mask while indoors at school and on school buses, subject to some specific exceptions. First Nations are advised to refer directly to the updated BCCDC Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools when planning for in-class instruction.
In addition, the BC Ministry of Education updated its guidelines for K-12 public schools and non-First Nations independent schools to require the use of masks consistent with BCCDC recommendations. First Nations may want to consider this updated guidance while planning for and providing in-class instruction.
The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) are providing this information to inform First Nations and support planning at the local level.
FNESC and FNSA fully respect the authority of individual First Nations to make decisions about school operations in the best interests of their students, schools, and communities. We further recognize that a number of schools may opt to remain fully or partially closed and/or may implement more stringent protocols within their schools. First Nations are under no obligation to reopen their schools.
We will be updating First Nations Schools Reopening Considerations and Template consistent with the new guidance and distributing it early next week.