On Wednesday, Aug 26, three school plans were revealed at a media briefing.
Adhering to provincial health protocols, provincial start up requirements and their own needs, the superintendents for each area talked about how they would organize learning cohorts and ensure student health, emotional and even food security needs were taken care of.
The Tri-City News has compiled a list of a few comparable school plans so parents can see how these plans are shaping up across the province.
Whereas in the Tri-Cities, School District 43 has indicated it will offer staggered pick-up, break and drop-off times, among other things while the Surrey school district — the largest in the province — is looking to add additional measures, including minimizing contact among students in Grades 10 through 12 by bringing them in every morning during the week but only once in the afternoon. Students in Surrey also plan on limiting learning group size among high school students to 30, well below the maximum of 120 set by the province.
School District 43 in the Tri-Cities has decided to move secondary students into a quarter system, breaking up the school year into four parts instead of the usual two semestres. There will be two classes a day, with one face-to-face and one a blend of in person and online. That's meant to keep learning groups at about 35 — much smaller than the province's 120 limit, though exact sizes will be decided by individual SD43 schools.
In Richmond, students up to Grade 9 will go to school full-time, whereas those in Grades 10 through 12 will attend half days split between the morning and afternoon. Cohort sizes will max out at the provincial maximum of 60 for elementary and middle school and 120 for high school.
While in Richmond, students with compromised immune systems or complex medidal needs will be offered "full at-home support," SD43 is less clear on how these students will be accommodated. In a letter to parents, superintendent Patricia Gartland wrote that options "may include gradual entry and return to school, expanded access to the district Hospital Homebound program and/or expansion of district Distributed Learning programs."
How districts engage with parents needs as the Sept. 10 start date nears also differs across the province. Terry Fox secondary in Port Coquitlam in the Tri-Cities is polling parents plans to send their children back to school. In Vancouver, the district has sent out a survey to all parents to be completed Aug. 27 in an effort to gauge demand for a transition plan under consideration.
Meanwhile, in Burnaby, the district is looking to offer a blended, online-offline learning model for upper level high school students. With 30 to a learning group for grades 10 through 12, students will attend one class in-person every day of the week. A second class will be offered three days a week online and two days a week in-person.