This is how one classroom in Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary looks on the first day of school Thursday (Sept. 10, 2020) for one-hour orientation for small groups. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

This is how one classroom in Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary looks on the first day of school Thursday (Sept. 10, 2020) for one-hour orientation for small groups. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Education

‘So unusual for Surrey’ as school district has only 200 new students: superintendent

District usually sees about 1,000 new students each school year

The Surrey school district has about 550 fewer students than what staff was predicting for the 2020/21 school year.

Superintendent Jordan Tinney gave an update at Wednesday’s (Oct. 14) board of education meeting.

READ ALSO: Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections, Sept. 18, 2020

He said the district was projecting 44,267 elementary students, but the current enrolment is 43,493.

“In such an incredibly different year, this is 774 fewer students than projected in our elementary schools and that’s quite a shock, indeed.”

However, at secondary schools, Tinney said enrolment is slightly up.

The district was projecting 28,714 students and 28,930 have enrolled, he said.

“But when you put the elementary and the secondary together, as a combined piece, it still is not a positive story,” noted Tinney.

“That’s so unusual for Surrey. We know that there have been changes in immigration and we know there have been changes in international students, but it’s been a rare time indeed, certainly not one in my years in Surrey where we’ve seen a number like that.”

While enrolment is slightly up about 200 students from the last school year, Tinney said the 550-student decline from projections affects budgeting., such as hiring more teachers and support staff.

“That’s like an entire large elementary school, like Maddaugh Road that just didn’t appear but we paid for it. It’s just so hard, in this scenario, when you get into September to be able to pull back is extremely difficult.”

Enrolment at the district usually increases by about 1,000 students each school year.

“Our overall enrolment numbers are slightly above last year, but they are below our projections for the 2020/21 school year,” explains Laurie Larsen, chair of the Surrey Board of Education said in a release Oct. 9.

“This is due to a number of factors, including a decline in immigration and international students, and the fact that some parents opted to home school their children.”

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Find out which Surrey schools have had COVID-19 exposures

READ ALSO: What happens at a Surrey school when someone tests positive for COVID-19?, Sept. 17, 2020

Larsen said there is “no question” that the COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to the public school system, “but it has also brought opportunity.”

After hearing from parents, she said the district began developing its blended model.

According to the district, most students returned to class full-time in September, with the exception of grades 10 to 12, who are participating in a blended model with both online and face-to-face learning.

Students in grades 8 and 9 were able to register for online options. Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 went back to school for full-time face-to-face learning, but there was an option for a blended program with a goal of gradually increasing face-to-face learning.

Tinney said this is “new territory” for the district.

“In an average school year, the vast majority of our students physically attend classes, and our staff is able to offer in-person support. This year, we have a program where about 29,000 students in our district are receiving at least half of their education online.”

This year, 34,571 elementary students are learning face-to-face, while 8,944 opted for the blended program, according to district data released on Oct. 9.

In high schools, 10,387 students are learning face-to-face, while 1,116 students in grades 8 and 9 are in the blended program and 17,531 students in grades 10 to 12 are in the blended program.

READ ALSO: Surrey school district proposing 13 new schools in the next decade, Sept. 19, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

CoronavirusEducationSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
More than 200 new COVID-19 cases linked to Fraser Health region: Dr. Henry

Provincial health officer appeals to people to keep gatherings small

Reni Masi file photo
Former Surrey school trustee, Delta MLA dies at age 87

Reni Masi served as Liberal MLA for nine years, then as a Surrey school trustee for another nine

A mail-in ballot package for the 2020 B.C. provincial general election. (Liam Harrap photo)
Over 15,000 mail-in ballots in Delta could mean no clear winners on election night

About 18 per cent of voters in Delta North, 23 per cent of voters in Delta South, issued mail-in ballots

A driver pulls up to the new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Weddings, funerals have ‘potential to become a super-spreader’ event: Fraser Health

As of Oct. 21, health authority accounted for 70% of total provincial cases

(Delta Police Department photo)
Police investigating indecent acts in North Delta park

Police received two separate reports of a man masturbating near the Mackie Library on Oct. 21

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read