On Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, Gord Stewart, superintendent of Langley schools, hosting a virtual town hall with elementary, middle and secondary principals from the district to address questions from the community about the local re-start plan. (Langley School District video screen shot)

VIDEO: District addresses back-to-school re-start in Langley

Deadline to submit school survey is Aug. 31

Langley School District hosted a virtual town hall meeting to address lingering questions the public had after the release of the local back to school re-start plan.

The re-start plan released on Wednesday outlined how public schools in Langley will operate when classes resume next month.

Anticipating the community would still have questions after reviewing the plan superintendent of Langley schools Gord Stewart hosted a virtual town hall meeting Thursday with elementary, middle and secondary school principals from the district who are also parents.

“We wouldn’t be embarking on this path if we didn’t think it was safe for kids,” Stewart said during his opening remarks of the town hall, noting he understands parents’ anxieties as a father of three.

READ MORE: Langley non-profit helps families with back to school through new programs

The presentation was prepared in an effort to answer questions submitted by the public ahead of the 7 p.m. event.

Stewart noted the power of face-to-face in-class instruction and called remote learning that took place at the end of the last school-year a “Band-aid,” adding distance learning makes it difficult to achieve the same level of success as when students are in-class learning.

In an effort to accommodate families the district is looking at offering a number of learning options for the upcoming school-year including, face-to-face instruction; U-Connect, which also includes a face-to-face component; homeschooling, by registering with a student’s catchment school; and transition programming, which the district is still considering as an option.

“Bottom line is how many are interested and that’s something that we really need to determine,” Stewart said about the options.

“We really need to gather that information and that’s where you’re (the community) really going to be key in terms of this process because once we as a district have an understanding, in terms of the numbers that are involved here, at that point, we can start to work with all of our school based administers and say, ‘what can we do best to help those families get back.’”

To gather that information the district is conducting a survey. The survey was expected to be sent to families on Saturday by their school. Alternatively, it can be found on the school website.

Starting Sept. 1 school staff will follow-up with families who are not ready to return to school and will work with them to develop a plan to support their needs.

From Sept. 8-11 schools will host orientation week in an effort to get staff, parents and teachers prepared for the school-year.

For families who have a child or a member of their household that is immune suppressed or compromised will require a medical note so the district can arrange to support those students who are expected to be away from school.

Any medical advice about whether it is safe for a student to return to the classroom should a member of their household be diagnosed with COVID-19 should be directed to the family practitioner, the district said.

Staff or students who are sick are asked to stay home. Should they develop symptoms of an illness at school the individual will be isolated until they are able to return home.

READ MORE: Feds roll out $2 billion to fund return-to-school safety amid pandemic

The school district says a individual’s health records are private and it is Fraser Health, not the district, that shares information about test positive cases.

To watch the virtual town hall visit the district’s website here.

Questions about the local re-start plan not answered during the town hall or by a student’s school can be directed to the district at feedback@sd35.bc.ca.

The deadline to complete the online survey is Aug. 31.


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