Middle school and secondary school students in BC will be expected to wear masks at any time when they are outside of their learning group.

The education ministry says that requirement is included in the updated operational guidelines given to school districts to create a consistent province wide approach.

The masks will be worn by staff, middle and secondary students in high traffic areas such as buses and in common areas such as hallways.

Students who cannot wear masks for medical reasons will be exempted.

In addition, students will have to use masks when they not among their learning group in situations that do not allow for physical distancing.

The staff and students at schools will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group even while wearing the masks.

The provincial guidelines also say there is to be no congregating among students from different learning groups, even if masks are being used.

The ministry is providing additional funding to allow school districts to buy enough masks.

The updated guidelines also cover other aspects of education during the pandemic, including curriculum, report cards, supports for students with disabilities, and finance and operations.