The Surrey school district has been offering childcare for kids of essential service workers at four school sites. Classrooms have six to seven students in each, keeping with the social distancing rules. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

The Surrey school district has been offering childcare for kids of essential service workers at four school sites. Classrooms have six to seven students in each, keeping with the social distancing rules. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

VIDEO: Surrey School District releases video on new ‘intensive’ health measures

School superintendent Jordan Tinney says COVID-19 has been ‘exhausting’ for staff, parents

In a video published Sunday, Surrey School District superintendent Jordan Tinney said the “unending stream” of COVID-19 exposure and isolation notices issued to parents and staff has been intense and exhausting.

Tinney, who published the 20-minute video on his Twitter account, explained in detail the new “targeted” health measures coming to some schools in the district.

Since a global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization one year ago, Tinney said the district has issued 2,077 letters to parents related to exposures, outbreaks, or isolation requests.

On March 13 alone, Tinney said, the district issued notices of exposures to 10 schools, issued self-monitoring letters to 17 classes; and sent 40 letters of self-isolation.

“This is a pretty typical day for Surrey, 67 letters, all about COVID-19,” Tinney said.

On March 12, the district announced new targeted COVID-19 health and safety measures as it has “experienced more school-based exposures than any other district in our province.”

RELATED: Surrey school district implements new COVID-19 health, safety measures

The measures are broken down into three parts, including universal, targeted, and intensive.

Universal measures impact all schools, while targeted measures are for select schools based on COVID-19 community prevalence. Intensive measures are for select schools where repeated exposures and multiple isolation notices have been issued.

He said the district is working in collaboration with the medical health officer to identify “intensive schools” based on evidence of community prevalence and ongoing or repeated exposures.

As for the intense measures, Tinney said, some schools will have staff rooms closely monitored to limit informal gatherings and ensure physical distancing, mask wearing and cleaning protocols.

“We’ve had repeated incidences where staff rooms have been a place where more than one person has become infected. It’s just a place where people need a break. If we shut down staff rooms totally, people will go and find other, smaller places to have lunch,” he said.

Tinney said school principals are to engage with staff about the importance of limiting informal gatherings in any setting inside the school.

Another intensive measure is to consider moving all elementary preparation time to a scheduled time 22 minutes before school begins. The change would adjust the start of the identified elementary schools by 22 minutes.

“We know that this will not be easy. There’s a potential of impact, of course, on things like parent schedules, before and after school care, what about any additional costs downloaded onto parents if the child is staying in daycare later in the morning,” Tinney said.

Targeted health and safety measures in Surrey schools from Surrey Schools on Vimeo.

“I just want to say this is not for implementation the day upon return (from spring break). We need to think about this one carefully.”

Targeted measures include not allowing external visitors from the public or district inside the school unless essential; and the district is considering multiple lunch breaks as options to reduce interactions between individual classes.

A summary of the new measures include:

• Having three early dismissals “for the specific purpose of allowing school-based health and safety committees to review and adjust site-specific health and safety plans and protocols as needed, and within provincial guidelines.”

• Exploring options for adjusting elementary start times to allow teachers to have a common preparation time, which would “eliminate the need for cross cohort instruction.”

• Focusing on instruction in their own class, for those who “team-teach as subject specialists” in upper elementary grades, which would eliminate the need to teach more than one class.

• Working with school-based administrators “to increase vigilance during outdoor play time so students do not cross cohorts.”

• Working with school administrators and families “to ensure all students and parents vacate school grounds immediately after school.”

• Considering moving the StrongStart programs to online only. It’s a free program for parents and caregivers and children under the age of five to participate in learning experiences that are designed to support early learning development, such as language, physical, cognitive, social and emotional.

• Continuing to require masks in secondary schools unless staff or students are at their workstation, separated by a barrier or actively eating or drinking.

The district says these steps are “just a summary of a more comprehensive plan” to respond to the increased cases in Surrey and White Rock.

Between Jan. 1, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021, Surrey has recorded 21,697 COVID-19 cases. With an additional 1,497 cases in South Surrey/White Rock, which is separated from the rest of Surrey, during the same period.

– with files from Lauren Collins

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

‘I’m sending it back for clarification,’ mayor decides

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘In grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

Demonstrators will walk through Vancouver for the first two days before boarding a ferry Sunday morning

Most Read