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Surrey superintendent has advice for parents on return to school

Last Updated Sep 9, 2020 at 6:33 am PDT

FILE - The province's return-to-school plan includes having most students back in classes full-time starting this fall.

Surrey's superintendent of schools is advising parents to carefully consider their choices for the return to school

Secondary students in blended programs can re-enter at the end of each quarter

But the re-entry date for elementary students is Jan. 1

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Surrey’s superintendent of schools is advising parents to carefully consider their choices when deciding whether or not their children will go back to class during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers returned to school on Tuesday, with students expected back in class for the rest of orientation week on Thursday. Some, however, may stay home, choosing an online program instead.

Jordan Tinney, Surrey superintendent, said parents and students who take on the online learning responsibility will have plenty of support from schools. But, he warns, there is a big difference between online and in-class learning.

Key to consider is re-entry points.

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Secondary students in online programs can choose to re-enter classrooms at the end of each quarter. But the re-entry date for elementary students is after Jan. 1.

“So once you commit to the program, you are committed to January,” Tinney said of the online option for elementary students.

“So just a reminder that when you make a choice for a blended program, you are taking on increased responsibility as a parent and you are really aware of those re-entry points,” he added.

“But it’s a big difference to be in an online-blended program versus the regular program, so please make that choice wisely,” Tinney said.

“Again, we are excited about those programs, we believe they will be fantastic and whatever you choose to do, we support you.”

Teachers and staff were expected to return to schools Tuesday to discuss updated guidelines for the return to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

That time is also meant for teachers and staff to adjust to new routines, as well as finalize plans, review new protocols, and confirm lesson plans.

Students are expected back Thursday and will be placed in learning groups, up to 60 in the elementary- and middle-school levels, 120 for secondary schools. They are to remain in the same groups for the school year.

Teachers have protested the school return plan, suggesting it doesn’t allow for enough physical distancing in classrooms.

B.C. received up to $242.36 million of the $2 billion in federal funding announced to help provinces and territories safely reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.