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30% drop in foreign students predicted for Coquitlam district schools due to COVID-19 retrictions

Deadline for arrival in Canada for those with approved study permits during COVID-19 is Aug. 26 to meet federal quarantine restrictions before Sept. 10 date for students attending public K-12 schools
School District 43 is expecting fewer international students this year due to COVID-19 restrictions
School District 43 is expecting fewer international students this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, which means a drop in revenue for district coffers.

How many international students will attend School District 43 schools in the 2020/’21 school year beginning in September is as yet unknown.

But officials expect at least a 30% drop in students and revenue due to COVID-19 foreign entry restrictions, according to the most recent budget figures.

Although the B.C. government has stated it welcomes international students in its back to school plan, as long as those arriving from foreign countries self isolate for 14 days, some uncertainty remains, said manager Ken Hoff.

He added many international students didn’t go home in the summer and are enrolled to continue their studies in September, but it’s not known if any new students on study permits will be allowed given federal government restrictions.

“Time is running short for a September enrollment timeframe — but it does not exclude school entry in January/February as we would normally see,” Hoff stated in an email responding to a Tri-City News inquiry. 

In the province’s back to school plan international students must arrive by Wednesday, Aug. 26 to complete their 14-day self quarantine before students return to the classroom by Sept. 10.

“This can be done with a host family or with the help of federal government officials,” the back to school plan states. 

School District 43 has traditionally had the largest kindergarten to Grade 12 international education program in B.C. Last year it generated $30.1 million in revenue, funds which pay for teachers and go towards a surplus to fill in funding gaps.

This year SD43 expects to generate $24.2 million from fees international education students.

That’s a significant drop, owing to COVID-19 travel restrictions. As recently as a few years ago, as many as 2,000 international students enrolled in schools in School District 43, many of them from China.

Hoff said the province is still negotiating with the federal government through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, for some flexibility.

Currently, under IRCC rules, only international students with valid study permits or who were approved for a study permit before March 18 are permitted to enter Canada.