New West education during COVID-19 crisis a 'work-in-progress'

There will be bumps along the road, but the New Westminster School District is doing all it can to prepare for educating kids remotely, according to school superintendent Karim Hachlaf.

“As a parent, I know this last week has been challenging; we’re all filled with worries about our loved ones and facing so many unanswered questions,” he wrote in a letter to parents. “As the superintendent, when it comes to education, I can tell you; all of our teams have been working tirelessly to build a plan and provide some of those answers, as quickly as we can.”

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The next week will be spent sorting out technology needs of students and remote education plans, and those plans will start to be implemented the following week, he stated.

Parents should take a brief survey to help the district estimate child-care needs for essential service workers and find out who can or cannot access the technology and devices necessary for the remote learning plan, according to Hachlaf.

The survey is at and must be completed by Monday, March 30th, at 10 a.m.

“If your family does not have access to a device (computer or tablet) that will allow for remote learning, early next week we will share information on how request the loan of a Chromebook,” Hachlaf stated.

Schools are closed to students on Monday, he made sure to point out.

“On Monday the only people at your local school will be principals, vice-principals and custodial staff,” he stated.

Limited staff will be able to enter the buildings later in the week, with physical distancing observed, Hachlaf added.

In the first week, teachers will be contacting families for more information and to determine how to get everyone set up, he stated, adding principals would also be contacting families.

There are steps that can help students return to learning, according to Hachlaf, who said the district has prepared a beginner’s guide with tools and resources that families can try when they’re ready:

The situation is a changing one and the district will do its best to keep parents informed, Hachlaf stated.

“We know you still have many questions. We’re working hard to provide those answers.

We will continue to work with staff in every one of our departments to engage them in providing innovative and accessible solutions for as many of our students, families and staff as we can,” he stated. “And, as the situation evolves, we will move with it as well – always taking direction from and working in collaboration with the health authorities who are taking the lead on the COVID-19 outbreak.”

This is a change for everyone involved, he stated.

“This will be new for all of us. It will not look like in-class learning. And we know there will be a few bumps. But, if we continue to collaborate, be flexible and make sure the health and well-being of our students, staff, families and community are at the heart of our decisions, we know we’ll be on the right path,” Hachlaf stated. “And through that process we can give students the opportunity to continue learning in ways that will both provide them with stability and enrich their growing minds.”

For more information, go to the district website,



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