FILE - Students walk through a hallway at a B.C. high school. (File photo: Black Press Media)

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

'That's not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table': superintendent

The Surrey school district is down from its 2020/2021 student enrolment projections, which the superintendent says might be a first for him.

“That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table,” said Superintendent Jordan Tinney during the Sept. 16 Surrey Board of Education meeting.

At the elementary level, Tinney said the district is down more than 700 students from what was expected.

For secondary schools, Tinney said the district is up about 350 students.

“Overall, we are up 370 students from last year, but that’s still 400 below projections,” he said.

“That’s a big deal for Surrey.”

A presentation from earlier in the meeting showed that the district was expecting 44,331 elementary students and 28,864 secondary students for 2020.

Tinney added the impact on immigration due to the virus is also a “huge factor” for Surrey’s enrolment.

Last August, the Surrey school district was anticipating between 1,000 and 1,200 new students for the 2019/2020 school year, for a total projected enrolment of 74,700 students district-wide.

By December 2019, Surrey saw the highest enrolment growth in all of B.C., with 1,039 students.

READ ALSO: More than 74,000 Surrey students expected to enroll in district this year, Aug. 30, 2019

READ ALSO: Surrey school district sees highest enrolment growth in B.C., Dec. 18, 2019

When it comes to enrolment this year, Tinney said “a lot of parents are nervous” to send their kids back to school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first week of school, nine schools in the district had confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 exposures reported at four more Surrey schools, Sept. 17, 2020

Tinney said that “close to 13,000” students had signed up for some sort of online blended option.

He said the district will be coming back in October to discuss how many students are actually in a “blended” program “because that’s 13,000 who expressed an interest.”

For comparison sake, Tinney said that amount of students is roughly the size of the Chilliwack or Prince George school districts.

READ ALSO: New ‘Surrey Blended’ online option aims to offer flexibility to students, Aug. 31, 2020

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