With the surge of COVID-19 still prominent, the use of personal protective equipment has a key role to play in preventing the spread of the virus. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), wearing a mask provides an additional layer of protection when more effective measures are not feasible (i.e., if physical distancing cannot be maintained). B.C.’s Ministry of Education also suggests masks as a valuable layer of protection to help create safe school spaces and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The health and safety of students, staff and families continues to be the top priority for Vancouver schools. In addition to health and safety protocols, sanitation supplies and enhanced cleaning measures in schools, over the past year the District ordered more than 229,000 masks and distributed two rounds of masks to all students, staff and employees. The first distribution occurred in September 2020 when schools first reopened after the summer break. All students, staff and employees received two masks each to help keep school communities safe.
In January 2021, the District distributed a second round of masks. More than 109,000 KN95-equivalent masks in both youth and adult sizes were given to students and staff. Each received two masks that are newly certified to meet the KN95 standard – which requires a new fit test. The fit test measures the mask’s filtration levels and how well the mask fits around the face. Comparably, the KN95 standard masks fit more securely around the face than N95 masks and have a filtration efficiency of 95 percent to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Through this unusual school year, the District extends appreciation to staff, students and families for their ongoing support and patience as we work together to keep our schools safe.
For more information, review mask guidance and guidelines: