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Decision on when students are headed back to class coming soon: Surrey superintendent

Last Updated May 5, 2020 at 11:28 am PDT

(iStock photo)
Summary

Surrey School District superintendent believes decisions around reopening schools 'appear to be imminent'

Superintendent Jordan Tinney says early focus will likely be on younger students, as well as enhanced cleaning measures

B.C.’s primary and secondary school students have been out of the classroom since they left for spring break on March 13

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The head of the Surrey School District believes it won’t be long until we find out when kids will head back to class.

Decisions around when schools will reopen “appear to be imminent,” according to Superintendent Jordan Tinney.

However, he notes it’s not a black and white situation, and that a number of factors need to be considered.

“There certainly are no magic answers, but, to me, there seem to be four key questions to consider: When will schools reopen, what safety precautions will be in place in order for schools to reopen, who are the students who will first step foot in schools when they reopen, and if there is an opening, in some form, prior to June 30th, how do we support those parents and family who choose not to attend?” Tinney says in a video posted online.

He believes early decisions will likely focus on younger students, to help parents get back to work and not have to worry about childcare.

There will also be an emphasis on cleaning and safety of facilities, Tinney adds, explaining “new guidelines are on the way,” that include more “rigorous” measures than are in place.

Physical distancing measures are also likely to be included in future plans, he says.

“These adaptations will have to take into account the very real challenges that young children will face in managing social distancing.”

Whether the decision comes down over the next two months or in September, Kinney admits the process is “mindboggling.”

“I believe we are all guided by common values, really, which are, we all believe that health and safety should be the top priority,” Tinney says in a video posted online. “We all want the virus to remain under control. We all want our children to continue their learning. We all want to see a resurgence of our economy, and we all want to see a return to life in a new normal.”

Tinney adds, whatever happens, the focus will be on making schools safe for students, teachers and staff.

“No matter what, we know that schools play an enormous role in rebuilding the economy, as people need to get back to work.”

B.C.’s primary and secondary school students have been out of the classroom since they left for spring break on March 13.

Since that time, students have been learning remotely, a process that has been a challenge for many children and parents.