Hugh MacKinnon, teacher-on-call for the Surrey school district, with one of the students attending childcare for essential service workers at one of four school district sites in May of 2020. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey’s school plan now posted: Here’s what to expect

In Surrey’s plan, every secondary student will be in attendance every day

Back-to-school plans for K-12 families are now posted for all 60 school districts in B.C., including those for Surrey, the province’s largest such district.

The “Surrey Schools Stage 2 Restart Plan for September 2020” was posted Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 26) to surreyschools.ca.

“Most school districts can accommodate all students in the classroom every day. However, there are some urban secondary schools with larger student populations in cities like Surrey where this will not be possible,” says a Ministry of Education news release that includes the following backgrounder for Surrey:

* “To minimize contacts between learning groups, Surrey is accommodating grade 10-12 students every day in the morning and one day a week in the afternoon, while students in K-9 will have full-time access to the classroom. In Surrey’s plan, every secondary student will be in attendance every day.”

* “Children with special needs, those who require additional supports and children and youth in care will have priority access to technology, in-class instruction and additional supports.”

* “To reduce contact between learning groups, the district is staggering arrival and departure times for some of its larger schools, with different pick-up and drop-off times and/or locations for families depending on their learning groups.”

* “The district is also staggering the times students enter the school, as well as breaks and lunches, to minimize the numbers of people passing each other in the halls. The district will never have more than 60% of students sharing a lunch period and two times per week no more than 40% of a school will be on lunch.”

* “Surrey secondary schools are moving to a quarterly semester system, which means students have two courses every 10 weeks, minimizing the amount of time they need to change classes and keeping the size of learning groups small. The learning group size for grades 8 and 9 is 60 students. For grades 10-12 it is 30 students.”

* “Surrey has an Aboriginal Education Council, with representatives from the local Katzie and Semiahmoo First Nations, BC Métis Nation, Fraser Valley Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association, Kekinow Housing, Surrey Principals and Vice Principals’ Association, Surrey Teachers’ Association and Aboriginal parents that meets to provide leadership on the education. The superintendent has also met with representatives of the local Katzie and Semiahmoo First Nations about Surrey’s restart plan.”

* “First Nations students will be accommodated for remote learning, when requested.”

* “Surrey also has a distributed (online) learning option, which includes a blend of remote classes and in-person instruction for grades K-7, and more than 70 online courses, including project-based learning, for grades 8-12.”

On Wednesday (Aug. 26), the B.C. government announced its approval of plans for all 60 school districts to welcome students back in September, with full in-person instruction for elementary and middle schools, and secondary schools where the ministry says the “vast majority” of students will attend every day.

Learning groups of up to 60 students are to stay together in the younger grades, with masks required for hallways, buses and other common areas of schools. Most secondary schools will use a quarter system rather than semesters. There will be four quarters with two courses each in the secondary year, to reduce the size of learning groups, and teachers may go from class to class rather than students.

The individual district plans are to be released Wednesday, Aug. 26, as school principals begin contacting families to share their local plans and confirm attendance. Sept. 8 and 9 are for staff orientation with students attending starting Sept. 10.

In a video posted on Tuesday (Aug. 25), Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney provided an update on the district’s proposed back-to-school plans.

See the video below or CLICK HERE to read the transcript.

August 25: Back-to-School Update from Surrey Schools on Vimeo.

– with a file by Tom Fletcher

Education

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