What would have been the final months of high school for more than 6,000 Surrey students, with celebrations and planning for the future, has now been put on hold.
But Surrey Schools Superintendent Jordan Tinney has put out a message to Grade 12 students as the district, and province, deals with transitioning to an adapted form of learning to follow the social-distancing and self-isolating rules.
“I want to reach out specifically to you in these unique times,” Tinney said in his video message. “You are the students on the brink of graduation, you’re preparing for grad and all that brings, including commencements, celebrations and ceremonies. You’re ready to step out into adulthood and in the midst of all that, we’re faced with a suspension of in-class instruction to help us all stop the spread of COVID-19.”
He said he knows that a lot of students are concerned about what the suspension “actually means.”
“You’ll have lots of questions,” he said. “Things like, most importantly, will I be able to graduate; will you have all the things that you need to enter post-secondary or life beyond if it includes work, jobs; how will this affect things like scholarships and bursaries and other applications; how will you get all the support that you need and normally get from people like counsellors through the spring; what about grad ceremonies and commencement ceremonies, and will they happen and when will they happen, and if so, what will they look like?”
While the district doesn’t have exact answers yet, Tinney said he said staff is “working very hard to establish a plan for our district that puts our students first.”
“We have a world-class education system built on a foundation of amazing committed teachers, working together in teams with our principals, vice-principals and support staff. We will have a plan for you. I want you to know that we care about our students and their success and we want you to succeed. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that success.”
It was on March 17 that the B.C. government announced it would be suspending K-12 classes indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Education Minister Rob Fleming said all students who are currently on track to move onto the next grade, or to graduate, will do so and the province is working with post-secondary institutions.
Students in the Surrey school district are officially on spring break until Monday (March 30).
At the time, Fleming said the province was urging schools and school districts “to begin planning now to ensure a continuity of learning while in-class instruction is suspended.”