While B.C. announced new measures Thursday requiring masks to be worn in more school settings, it doesn't appear there will be any significant consequences for students who don't follow the new rules.
B.C.'s education ministry announced the rules for all school staff and for students in middle and high schools. Now, they must wear masks in all indoor areas except when they're at their workstation, behind a barrier or eating.
- Read more: Here are B.C.'s new mask rules for students
Before, masks were just required in uncontrolled, high-traffic areas like hallways.
But B.C.'s top doctor said parents, students and staff need to remember that there are some instances where students might not be able to wear a mask and that the new measures will be a learning experience.
"Young people are learning how to wear a mask appropriately, how to put it on and take it off appropriately," Henry said during a news conference Thursday.
"But we should not be shaming or blaming either children who are wearing masks or not wearing masks and we need to make sure we have an environment that is healthy and safe for all children and adults in the school system."
Under current public health orders, masks are required for people aged 12 and older in most indoor public settings. Those who break that health order could be subject to a $230 fine.
But Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside suggested Thursday there isn't a plan in place to punish students who don't follow the new rules.
"It is certainly not our intention that this becomes a punitive measure or that there is a punitive response," she said.
"We will be supporting our districts in any way necessary to ensure that this rolls out in a way that helps and is not punitive."
As for teachers and their mask requirements, Henry said it's up to school administrators and districts to ensure adults are wearing their face coverings properly.
"It's more challenging for young people and it's all of us that need to encourage and make mask wearing part of the normal aspects of our school," Henry said.
"What we know is setting the tone in the classroom and working with each individual student is what makes this an appropriate and a safe place for students and staff for wearing masks."