Smaller cohorts expected for many Langley schools

Learning groups won’t be maxed out, district says

Many classes and cohorts will be smaller than the sizes mandated by the province when school returns in Langley in September, according to a school district spokesperson.

On Friday, the district released a preview of the Education Restart Plan.

The full plan won’t be unveiled until Wednesday, Aug. 26, after it has been approved by the provincial Ministry of Education.

But the preview gave some information, including that they are considering a quarter system instead of a semester system for high school students.

READ MORE: In-class instruction to begin Sept. 14 for Langley students

Although cohort sizes could be as large as 60 students for elementary schools and 120 for secondary schools, many cohorts will be smaller, depending on the school, said district spokesperson Joanne Abshire.

“A lot of them are going to be smaller,” she said. “Some cohorts are as small as 43 students.”

Afternoon classes at secondary schools, which will alternate between in-class and online education days, could see classes as small as 15 students, Abshire said.

Abshire also noted that administrators at schools are working on arrivals and departures, which are expected to be staggered to keep cohorts separate.

More information on busing and transport options is expected Wednesday, but Abshire said that all students eligible for bus services will continue to receive transportation.

High school students with half-day instruction will have buses to take them home around noon, as well.

Elementary and middle school principals are working together to make sure the schedules line up for families that have to drop children off at two schools, Abshire said.

In developing the plan, the Langley School District said they aim to follow the provincial health and safety guidelines, maximize in-class instruction, keep students in their learning groups, limit the movement of students on-site, and manage traffic flow on-site.

More detailed information will be released on Wednesday, Aug. 26. The district’s plans are still subject to provincial approval.

Site-specific plans for individual schools will be released between Aug. 26 and Sept. 4.

Students return Sept. 10 and 11 to learn safety protocols, and in-class education starts on Sept. 14.

Some districts have already announced they will be launching new programs this fall, including four elementary schools in Chilliwack which will operate on a “hybrid” system of in-class and at-home learning, and Surrey is planning smaller cohort sizes for high school students, but the head of the Surrey Teachers Association called for a full hybrid model with only 50 per cent of students in class, similar to the brief June re-opening.

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