Surrey School District submits plan for voluntary return to classes on Monday

Classrooms are empty, but most students are hoping to return to class in September. Felicia Parrillo/Global News

The Surrey School District said it has submitted its plan to the B.C. government for the voluntary return to classes on Monday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Supt. Jordan Tinney said in his weekly video message that the district is looking to set aside Wednesdays for deep-cleaning.

Students will only be in school for small blocks of time, he said, at-home learning is here to stay. He says in the partial return to in-person instruction on June 1.

May 25: Week 9 Message to Surrey Schools Parents, Students & Staff from Surrey Schools on Vimeo.

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Provincial guidelines state that elementary schools can only have up to 50 per cent of their total enrollment in school on any given day.

READ MORE: Can we really keep kids distant in school amid COVID-19? It won’t be easy, experts say

That means students in kindergarten to Grade 5 can expect to be with half their class for two days a week, Tinney says, while Grades 6 and 7 kids will be with half their class one day a week.

Secondary schools are allowed up to 20 per cent of students on any given day.

Those in Grades 8 to 12 will be meeting with teachers in small groups to get additional support for their online program, he said, and over a week, they’ll receive only one full day of in-person instruction.

“All along, we’ve been talking about (how) slowly and steadily, we’ll get there,” Tinney said in the video.

“This week, teachers are preparing and doing their orientations to a whole new look and feel to school for them. Next week, when parents arrive, you’ll also encounter new routines and we will need your patience and support.”

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: As classrooms reopen, British Columbia faces a worrisome return to school

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Surrey parents will also receive a survey asking if their child will not be attending school before September, he added, so that administrators can check on only those who don’t show up when they should, as so that they can plan bus routes.