Back to school in British Columbia: thousands sign petition to make classroom learning optional for September

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VANCOUVER – Less than a week after British Columbia announced its back-to-school plan for the fall, thousands of people signed an online petition calling on the province to make classroom learning optional . On Wednesday, the British Columbia Minister of Education and Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that most students will return to school for full-time in-class learning after Labor Day.

But some parents and teachers have spoken out on the plan, saying there was not enough time to ensure it is deployed safely.

“The government is putting pressure on our children to go back to school although this is still not safe as the cases of COVID-19 are steadily increasing every day,” says the online petition, which has collected more than 3,600 signatures Monday afternoon.

Part of the province’s plan includes placing students in “learning groups” to limit the number of people they come into contact with. For elementary and middle school students, these groups will not exceed 60 people. For high school students, the maximum learning group size is 120.

When the plan was announced, Education Minister Rob Fleming said specific guidelines and plans would soon be released for immunocompromised students.

But the petition says every family should be free to decide whether or not to send their children to class.

“Each household should be allowed to exercise their right to make the return decision, based on their family situation in order to ensure what is the most appropriate and safest measure for members of their own family,” the petition says.

“Classroom instruction should remain voluntary until clear evidence-based plans, guidelines, measures, enforcement and infrastructure are in place for our schools to ensure the safety of all people involved – our children, staff and their families. ”

Parents learned last week that families will be receiving news from schools throughout the summer with updated health and safety guidelines as well as their learning groups and schedules. The final details will be posted on August 26.

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