Back to school: B.C.'s largest school district reveals its plan for students' return
VICTORIA -- Thousands of parents and students are getting a look at the back-to-school plan for the province's largest school district, as Surrey released highlights of its pandemic response plan for secondary schools.
The plan would see start times, end times and lunch breaks staggered. School district Supt. Jordan Tinney says the goal is to have only 40 per cent of the school break for lunch at any given time.
The district says most of its secondary schools have more than a thousand students, with one at close to 2,000. Still, the aim is also to keep cohort sizes small.
In grades 8 and 9, those cohorts will be 60 students, or roughly two classes. Those students would take two classes per term (lasting roughly 10 weeks) and all the instruction would be face-to-face.
In grades 10 through 12, students will be in cohorts of 30 students. They will also take two classes per term, and the goal is to blend virtual and in-person learning.
Tinney says this allows students to take the classes they choose.
"Just like any other year, students choose their courses and some they get, some they don't," he told CTV News by Zoom.
Tinney added time is already built in to allow teachers time to prepare their lesson plans.
The province will need to sign off on the plan. On Monday, the education ministry announced updated guidelines, requiring masks be work by students and staff in common areas and when physical distance can't be maintained.
A plan for elementary students is coming next week.
Vancouver plans to be revealed Wednesday
Vancouver parents will need to wait another day to get their look at how the return to school will look. A special school board meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. will be broadcast live online, and will highlight the official plan.
Trustee Jennifer Reddy said she's been hearing from concerned parents and said staff have done their best to incorporate feedback.
"Because it's changing daily, folks just want to know what are the options at this point in time, recognizing that of course it could change tomorrow."
The province has said spiking case numbers could mean a revision to the plan. At this point, students are expected to be in class by Sept. 10.
Tinney also noted in secondary schools a large chunk of time is initially spent in moving kids who want to change their classes. He said that process would have to be done carefully, knowing a change in a timetable could also mean changing the cohort.
As for how to get kids to buy into the changes and adhere to the new rules, he admits that's going to be a challenge.
"When you look what's happening with our 20- to 29-year-olds and our 30-year-olds, you know it's already, like, if the adults are having problems following the rules you know that children are going to have problems following the rules as well."