British Columbia

Surrey schools increase measures to contain spread of COVID-19

The Surrey School District has introduced new measures for teachers, staff, students and parants to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

School district says it has had more school-based exposures than any other district in B.C.

The Surrey School District is trying to stop COVID-19 transmission in its schools. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Surrey School District has introduced new measures for teachers, staff, students and parents to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

In a written statement, the school district said it has had more school-based exposures than any other district in British Columbia. 

Laurie Larsen, chair of the Surrey Board of Education, said there has been several exposures in Surrey schools because of cases acquired not in the schools themselves but elsewhere in Surrey. 

"Our community is dealing with a high burden of COVID-19 cases, and so we feel it's prudent to introduce new targeted health and safety measures to further protect our staff and students," Larsen said. 

Less mingling

Some of the new measures include increasing vigilance during outdoor playtime so students don't mingle across cohorts, ensuring that all students and parents vacate school grounds immediately after school, and adding three early dismissals so health and safety committees can review and adjust protocols as needed. 

The district says it will also consider moving the StrongStart Programs to online learning, and adjusting elementary start times to give teachers more common preparation time and eliminate the need for cross-cohort instruction.

Jordan Tinney, superintendent for Surrey schools, says those steps are part of a comprehensive plan to respond to the higher number of COVID-19 cases in the Surrey and White Rock areas. 

"We recognize the importance of face-to-face learning and are committed to ensuring our students can continue to learn as safely as possible by following all appropriate measures to limit the spread of illness," Tinney said in the statement. 

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