Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Education

Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

While students seem to be “overwhelmingly” following the masks protocols in high-traffic areas in schools, there are concerns about what’s happening outside of the buildings.

Since the school year started, the district has had two surveys for students in grades 10 to 12.

The first had about 2,600 respondents, according to Surrey school district Superintendent Jordan Tinney and through that came the follow-up survey that focused on the challenges of managing health and safety protocols.

Then on Thursday (Nov. 26), the district – Tinney included – met online with some of the students to further discuss the survey and the concerns.

“This is us trying to keep student leadership alive during a pandemic, and in its own way, we’re able to reach thousands of students online.”

INTERACTIVE TABLE: COVID-19 exposure notices at Surrey schools

One of those students was Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary School. Based on school exposure notices from the district and Fraser Health, the school has had five COVID-19 exposure notices sent out by Nov. 25.

She said it was the beginning of bridging that “communication gap” between students and administration staff, who are helping to make some of the policies.

“It’s important for them to know our opinion as well because they aren’t the ones coming into schools.”

Asked what some of her biggest concerns with health and safety protocols, Tanvi said mask wearing.

“You can’t always social distance, especially in a building with 1,500 students. It’s so hard to social distance,” she explained. “For me, the most important thing during the pandemic, is to wear a mask at all time.”

When Tanvi’s at school, she said most students follow the rules and protocols.

“In school it happens. They’re sanitizing, they’re social distancing, they’re wearing a mask. But as soon as they’re out of the building, it’s like cohorts are mix and matching, no one’s wearing a mask.”

But she said it’s not just the students’ fault, adding that she’s seen some adults not following rules as well.

Tanvi said that if people were more proactive, and following the rules, “this would probably not be as bad.”

“How far they can take it before they’re going to shut down every school. I feel, sooner or later, they are going to move online unless we start following the rules and we start doing our part. And since we’re clearly not, schools are shutting down, the rates of the cases are going higher and higher.”

Tinney told the Now-Leader the district is trying to remind students and the public that “masks are actually required in the hallways and anytime you’re outside of your cohort.”

“In the survey, we asked that explicitly, ‘Do you wear a mask when you’re in the hall?’” said Tinney, adding that it “overwhelmingly” looks like students are following that rule.

“But their number one piece around the challenge with following the safety protocols, is maintaining physical distance outside their cohort,” he noted.

“Now what isn’t in the survey, and we won’t know, is that a choice? Are they hanging out with their friends and they choose not to physically distance or are they saying schools are crowded?”

For Emma Allen, a Grade 11 student at Earl Marriott Secondary, she said getting to take part in the survey was helpful “because I felt like my voice was being heard.”

homelessphoto

Emma Allen, a Grade 11 student at Earl Marriott Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

“It felt nice to see kids from all around the district feeling the way I felt, and getting to communicate that with people who can actually do something about it was really, really cool.”

She said at Earl Marriott, which has had five exposure notices sent out by Nov. 22, she feels they’re handling the pandemic well, and “within the classrooms we’re feeling safe.”

“But it’s chaotic,” she said, referring to the quarter system of two classes for 10 weeks at a time.

Emma said the classes are two hours, and that move into “self-directed” learning for online can be “tricky” for some, including herself.

Asked how she felt about coming back to school in the fall, Emma said she had “some anxiety.”

“I was very nervous, obviously, going to school in a global pandemic is exactly what it sounds like. However, with most of the students wearing masks majority of the time and when we can’t, we’re trying to social distance,” she said.

“I had some anxiety, however being in class has eased it a little. But then every time you get a notification that someone at your school has COVID, you’re a little bit stressed out about it.”

Emma said “about 90 per cent” of sudents are wearing masks, but she would “prefer it if it was mandatory in classrooms.”

“We’re doing our best to keep each other safe, and we just want everyone to make smart choices. If we’re doing our part, we want everyone to do their part so we can just go back to some form of normal.”

READ ALSO: Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19, Nov. 28, 2020

READ ALSO: COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school, Nov. 27, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

CoronavirusEducationSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, charged in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is to return to court Feb. 2, 2021. (Canadian Press/File photo)
Pre-trial conference set for accused in 2017 South Surrey killing

Brandon Nathan Teixeira set to return to Vancouver court Feb. 2

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read