Parents will learn more about back to school plan in three weeks, says province
VANCOUVER -- It’s a lingering question for families across the province: Exactly what will the return to school look like in the fall during the ongoing pandemic?
According to the education ministry, answers are on the way in the coming weeks, but B.C. is still facing questions about why the details aren’t being made available sooner.
BC Liberal MLA for Richmond Queensborough Jas Johal said other provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, already either have plans in place or a set date to announce their plans.
“I’m not sure why we can’t do this here,” Johal said. “This is a tremendous amount of concern for parents. They need to start making plans in regards to babysitting, in regards to daycare, in regards to their own work.”
During question period, Education Minister Rob Fleming said a plan will be published in three weeks. Speaking to reporters, Fleming said the goal is to have as many kids back in school as is deemed safe.
“That is the goal, to have school instruction resume five days a week, and we will continue to monitor what is possible based on the conditions on the ground,” he said.
Over the summer, a provincially appointed steering committee along with working groups including teachers, parent organizations, and school administrators are developing the return plan. Fleming said more than one plan is actually required, due to the fact it’s hard to predict what the virus may do in the fall.
“My advice to parents would be, if they have a K to 7 kid in particular, would be to plan a return to school.” Fleming said.
BC Teachers' Federation president Teri Mooring told CTV News it’s more likely school will return in stages.
“Right now it looks unlikely that we’ll be back to full-time instruction in schools,” Mooring said, and added those working on the plan are also looking at how the previous school year ended. “What was happening in June was really not sustainable for teachers and really needs to be looked at in terms of the student experience as well.”
Mooring said the planning process is complicated, and needs to be carefully done to ensure there’s a broad base of education provided, and all students have true access, which she said was also an issue in June and earlier in the spring.
“We were in an emergency situation starting in March, and so everyone understood that it was not ideal,” she said. “It’s still going to be difficult in September, but we have the opportunity to do some planning to make sure the experience is better for everyone.”