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Surrey school district seeing ‘slightly higher’ absences for staff, students

Deputy superintendent says ‘more absences than normal,’ but no need for functional closures
A student arrives at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.(Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The Surrey school district is “in a good place and doing well” despite “more absences than normal,” according to the deputy superintendent.

Andrew Holland told the board of education during its meeting Wednesday (Jan. 12) that senior staff gets absentee reports every morning for staff and students.

“We look at those for hotspots, and you know, generally speaking, we’ve been slightly higher than our historical averages and absences for both students and staff. But we have not been in the place where we’ve had to do a functional closure, which is great news,” noted Holland.

RELATED: With the latest COVID wave, Surrey school district says there’s ‘potential’ for ‘functional closures’, Dec. 31, 2021

“When we do get the absence reports in the morning, we reach out to any schools in the district that may have a high number of absences and check in on how they are doing and get reports back as to, hey, are all classes covered, are we meeting all student needs and how is the school functioning. And so far all the reports have been positive.”

Ritinder Matthew, associate director of communications services for the district, said schools have been able to back-fill with TTOCs (teachers teaching on call) and spare board staff.

She added all schools in the district are in session and “sufficiently staffed.”

“Staff absenteeism has been a bit higher this week, but nothing unusual. We are monitoring the situation at each school closely on a daily basis so our district can plan accordingly.”

As for student absentee rates, it varies by school, Matthew noted.

The district average is “slightly higher” – between four and seven per cent depending on the day – than what the district was seeing in early December.

READ ALSO: Surrey’s Bibleway Christian Academy suspends in-person classes, Jan. 12, 2022

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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