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Surrey eyes return to school on optional, part-time basis

Surrey is looking at a model that would have elementary school students return to class on alternating days, while high school students would attend once per week.
Surrey is looking at a model that would have elementary school students return to class on alternating days, while high school students would attend once per week. Global News

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a clarification from the Surrey School District. The district says classes will not resume on May 19, and that it is waiting on more clarity from the province regarding a potential dry-run in June.

Students in B.C.’s largest school district could soon be headed back to class, for at least some face-to-face instruction, as B.C. reopens amid COVID-19.

Surrey School District superintendent Jordan Tinney laid out a model envisioning limited, optional in-class instruction at some point following the May long weekend.

In a follow up, Tinney said the district had not set a specific date for a return to class, but that it would not begin on May 19.

READ MORE: Here’s how B.C. plans to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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It comes after the province laid out its own four-phase plan to reopen the economy, kicking off after the holiday.

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“The premier has said that we want to make sure we can do a dry run from the beginning of June to the end of June, and we’re not expecting a big increase in in-class learning until after the long weekend,” Tinney said in a video message.

“In that window, May 19 to June 1, I anticipate we’ll see a significant shift in our current mode of offerings.”

Tinney said the district was working to adapt a provincial model that would see differing degrees of part-time in-class learning for students Grades K to 5 and 6 to 12.

The proposal would see K-5 students attend class on alternating days, while Grade 6-12 students would attend class one day per week.

Remote and online learning would continue during that time, and parents would not be required to send their children to school if they do not want to.

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READ MORE: Hurdles to return kids to school under COVID-19 are ‘mind-boggling,’ Surrey superintendent says

“We now need to turn our minds to the design of possible models, and we still need to wait for the new health and safety protocols, and more information from the ministry, which we hear is coming next week,” said Tinney.

“Hopefully these new steps will also pave the way for September and the ability to expand our model even further if the virus remains in check.”