Students with disabilities, diverse abilities and those considered vulnerable are back at school receiving in-person supports. (THE NEWS-files)

Students requiring in-person supports back at school in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Started back on Wednesday, May 6

Students with learning disabilities, diverse learning abilities and those considered vulnerable, have already started back to school.

Seven schools across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows welcomed the students starting Wednesday, May 6, for “in-school supports”.

Staff will be providing programming that will focus on the social and emotional needs of each student, explained Irena Pochop, spokesperson for School District 42, “that will solidify the child’s sense of belonging”.

So far schools include c’usqunela elementary, Albion elementary, Maple Ridge elementary, Edith McDermott elementary, Harry Hooge elementary, Maple Ridge secondary and Westview secondary.

However, the district is adding schools in phases as there are about 100 students who fall into these three categories.

Phase one has just been completed, said Pochop, and the district is just beginning phase two.

“Virtually every school in our district has identified students they will be supporting on-site,” said Pochop, adding that the numbers of students will vary depending on the school.

Some schools, she said, will have as few as three students, while others will have as many as 12.

But, Pochop anticipates that the numbers will increase over the next two weeks.

RELATED: SD42 starts program for children of tier one health care workers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Timetables for each child will depend on the individual needs of the students and of their families. However Pochop expects that each student will attend school two to three days of the week and will receive will receive up to two hours of support each session.

The district began offering educational programming along with before and after school care to children of essential service workers in mid-April.

Once these services were established, the District immediately started to arrange opportunities for vulnerable students to work with educators at the school sites, said Pochop.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows ER staff make $6,500 donation to kids in need

The district is following COVID-19 guiding principles listed by the Ministry of Education including – maintaining a healthy and safe environment for all students and families and all employers; providing services to support children of essential workers; supporting vulnerable students who may need special assistance; and providing continuity of educational opportunities for all students.

The amount of educational assistants will vary depending on the needs of the students.

In some circumstances, said Pochop, one student will require two adults to support them and in other circumstances small groups of two to three students will be supported by one staff member.

“This is individualized programming,” said Pochop.

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