Parents divided on B.C.’s back-to-school plan
VICTORIA -- There’s less than a month left in summer holidays, but many parents are still not happy about the province’s return-to-school plan, which involves full-time, in-classroom learning for most students in B.C.
In fact, in a recent poll by Insights West, 49 per cent of parents surveyed indicated they were not comfortable with the plan.
And there is little consensus amongst parents on the best path forward.
Forty-one per cent of those surveyed would like a mix of online and in-classroom learning in the fall.
Only 27 per cent support full-time, in-class learning, the same percentage who favour full-time remote schooling.
On Wednesday, Premier Horgan said he understands parents’ concerns and anxieties about the return to school during the pandemic.
“I absolutely get that there’s anxiety in the community. It’s not just about K to 12,” he said. “For many people, it’s extremely difficult and filling them with anxiety to go to the grocery store to get their basic needs filled on a weekly basis.”
Horgan noted that some modifications to the current back-to-school plan might happen if circumstances called for changes between now and the start of the school year, but he emphasized the importance of getting children back in the classroom.
“Adjustments will be made as required, and I think that’s what parents expect, educators expect, and what we have to focus on is the well-being of everyone in the system,” the premier said Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Education Minister Rob Fleming confirmed that the return-to-the-classroom date for most students across B.C. will be Sept. 10.
Fleming told reporters that school staff, principals and teachers will return to school on Sept. 8, to get the schools ready, and then two days later students are expected to arrive in-person, for orientation sessions during the last two days of that week.
The exact hours of those first two days back at school are not, as yet, determined, but Fleming said individual schools will be announcing those types of details before the end of the month.
“For parents who are looking at childcare for that first week, they are going to have to hear from their local schools about how many hours their kids are expected on days one and two,” Fleming said.
The province has said all final details on the return to school must be submitted by each district to the government no later than Aug. 26.