Back-to-school time during a pandemic is not like other years. (Black Press file)

Majority of students will attend classes in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

School district survey shows up to 95 per cent of students will return in September

The vast majority of local students will be attending classes this September.

As the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district plans for return to school on Sept. 10, it conducted a survey for parents about their plans for their children in the coming school year.

The preliminary results they’re seeing “are very encouraging,” said district spokesperson Irena Pochop.

“We have received 6,452 responses, which capture the return-to-school plans for roughly 10,000 of our students. The responses show that, at the high level, between 90-95 per cent of our students will be returning for in-classroom instruction.”

The survey closed Tuesday at 4 p.m., so results reported Wednesday morning were considered preliminary.

They will be broken down for each school, and the results communicated to principals. Pochop said school administrators have already been in contact with families who have chosen not to return their children to in-classroom instruction, or expressed hesitation.

“These individual conversations will be critically important in helping us assess and address individual family needs,” said Pochop. “We strongly encourage families who didn’t participate in our survey, and who may have concerns about a return to in-classroom instruction, to contact their child’s school principal and share these concerns.”

READ ALSO: SD42 superintendent provides back to school info

The district will be offering a graduated return option through September, and beyond if needed. It offers a slower transition to full-time classroom learning. Students not attending will be provided online supports.

“We strongly encourage families who are considering remote or online learning options to reconsider and speak with the school principal about the graduated return option,” said Pochop, adding student success will be greater where they connect with their classroom teacher in person each week and participate in some online learning.

Those who don’t return for in-classroom instruction in September will be able to return at the beginning of each reporting period.

The most significant change for high school students will be a shift from linear programming to a quarter system. Most students will have a maximum of two courses per 10-week quarter of the school year. Classes will be longer than would otherwise be typical, and at the end of the quarter, students will receive a final grade for those two courses.

There will also be blended learning opportunities to varying degrees, depending on the grade level. There will be fewer elective courses offered this year, said Pochop.

READ ALSO: From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country

The district is implementing a gradual restart plan, so students will not return to class on Sept. 8, as had been previously announced.

The first two days of school (Sept. 8 and 9) will be reserved for staff training on updated health and safety guidelines, and to prepare for the return of students. Students will begin to return to classrooms on Sept. 10 and 11 in groups at set times for a full orientation on new health and safety protocols and an introduction to their cohort.

Regular daily attendance for all Grade 1 to 12 students will begin on Monday, Sept. 14.

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