Health & Safety

School districts and independent school authorities should have the necessary plans in place to be able to shift between stages if and when required.

Last update: May 06, 2021

On this page:

NoteStage-specific health and safety expectations are subject to change further to updated public health guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.


Stage 1

  • Regular health and safety policies and procedures  

Stage 2

  • Physical distancing (2M) for staff and for Middle and Secondary School students when interacting outside of their learning groups.
  • Hand hygiene upon school entry and before/after breaks and eating, using washroom and using gym/playground equipment
  • Visitor access during school hours prioritized to those entering to support activities that benefit student learning and well-being
  • After hours community use of facilities allowed in alignment with other health and safety measures

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting:
    • General cleaning and disinfecting of school premises at least once in a 24-hour period
    • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces at least twice in 24 hours, including at least once during regular school hours 
  • Additional hand hygiene stations and provision of regular opportunities for students and staff to practice hand hygiene
  • Floor markings, signage and education to support physical distancing, hand hygiene and other behaviours that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19
  • Any student or staff who has symptoms of COVID-19 OR has travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak must stay home and self-isolate, including children of essential service workers
  • Daily assessment of children for symptoms by parents/caregivers, and staff self-assessment - students and staff stay home if symptomatic
  • For Elementary School students:
    • Minimize physical contact within learning groups or when outdoors.
    • Physical distancing (2M) when interacting outside of their learning groups while indoors.
  • Personal Protective Equipment:
    • Non-medical masks or face coverings are required for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4 to 12[2] when inside a school, except when eating/drinking, a barrier is present, or while engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument).
    • Exceptions will also be made for individuals who cannot tolerate masks for health or behavioural reasons
    • Students and staff will each be given two re-useable face masks
  • Student transportation on buses:
    • Use consistent and assigned seating arrangements; support buses being loaded from back to front and offloaded from front to back
    • School bus drivers and students in grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical masks[2]
  • Site committees and Joint Health and Safety committees in place and meeting regularly, including prior to any transitions between stages

Stage 3 to 4

  • Physical distancing (2M) for staff and Middle and Secondary School students at all times
  • Enhanced hand hygiene protocols and supplies
  • Limit visitor access, no non-essential[1] (as determined by the Board or independent school authority) community use of school facilities

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting:
    • General cleaning and disinfecting of school premises at least once in a 24-hour period
    • Cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces at least twice in 24 hours, including at least once during regular school hours 
  • Additional hand hygiene stations and provision of regular opportunities for students and staff to practice hand hygiene
  • Floor markings, signage and education to support physical distancing, hand hygiene and other behaviours that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19
  • Any student or staff who has symptoms of COVID-19 OR has travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days OR was identified as a close contact of a confirmed case or outbreak must stay home and self-isolate, including children of essential service workers
  • Daily assessment of children for symptoms by parents/caregivers, and staff self-assessment - students and staff stay home if symptomatic
  • For Elementary School students:
    • Minimize physical contact within learning groups or when outdoors
    • Physical distancing (2M) when interacting outside of their learning groups while indoors
  • Personal Protective Equipment:
    • Non-medical masks or face coverings are required for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4 to 12[2] when inside a school, except when eating/drinking, a barrier is present, or while engaging in an educational activity that cannot be performed while wearing a mask (e.g. playing a wind instrument)
    • Exceptions will also be made for individuals who cannot tolerate masks for health or behavioural reasons
    • Students and staff will each be given two re-useable face masks
  • Student transportation on buses:
    • Use consistent and assigned seating arrangements; support buses being loaded from back to front and offloaded from front to back
    • School bus drivers and students in grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical masks[2]
  • Site committees and Joint Health and Safety committees in place and meeting regularly, including prior to any transitions between stages

Stage 5

No students in schools.

[1] As determined by the Board or independent school authority.

[2]Students in Grades K to 3 are encouraged to wear a mask indoors in schools and on school buses, but are not required to do so - mask wearing remains a personal or family/caregiver choice for these students, and their choices must be respected.