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Burnaby parents have restart questions, school district to offer answers soon

Superintendent says the district has been preparing for weeks.

Burnaby parents and students will find out more in the coming days about what a return to school will look like next month.

On Friday, Premier John Horgan announced the province will return to part-time, optional, in-class instruction on June 1 – two-and-a-half months after schools were closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Fleming directed school districts around the province to submit their return-to-class and safety plans for ministry approval and to contact parents by the end of this week.

If parents haven’t heard from their schools by Friday, the ministry told them to contact their school principal.

“Parents and caregivers are advised to follow the schedule provided for their child to ensure a safe and orderly restart,” stated a government press release.

After the provincial announcement, Burnaby school district superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen reassured parents that local school officials had been preparing for such an announcement for weeks.

“We have been providing in-class support and instruction for children of essential service workers and many vulnerable children and youth,” she wrote in a letter posted on the district website. “In addition, we have been operating a variety of pilot programs in schools across our district, exploring hybrid models and schedules, as well as studying jurisdictions that have gone back to school across our country and around the world.”

Niccoli-Moen also reminded parents that the return to in-class instruction next month is optional.

“Please be assured that, as we move forward, our priority remains the health and safety of our entire school community,” she wrote.

Under the provincial back-to-school plan, most students will restart in-class instruction part time.

Kids in kindergarten to Grade 5 will go to school half time (likely on alternating days), while students in grades 6 to 12 will return for about one day a week.

Children of essential service workers and students who need extra supports will have the option to attend school full time.

“Families that decide not to send their children to class may continue learning from home,” stated the provincial release.

Before opening their doors to more students, all schools will be required to have strict health-and-safety measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including plans for extra cleaning, spacing desks apart, avoiding gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas, extra handwashing, staggering pick-ups, drop-offs and breaks, and not sharing food or personal items like phones, pens or pencils.

The Ministry of Education has directed all school districts to post their ministry-approved return-to-class and safety plans posted on their websites for families to access.

For more information, visit