BC parent concerned about BC back-to-school plan

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VANCOUVER – When the province presented the back-to-school plan for students in British Columbia, Philip Almendrala immediately had concerns. “We all know the virus is still there, so there is always a risk,” he told CTV News. “My wife and I are still not comfortable sending my children to school. ”

At a press conference on Wednesday, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced that by September 8, most students will return to school for full-time classroom instruction.

This will be done by dividing students into learning groups, or cohorts, to limit interactions between students. The maximum in elementary and middle schools will be 60 students and in high schools, 120.

“You stay in this core subject learning group, even some electives will be organized within these 120 student learning groups and you stay with them in a semester system, and then you might be in a different learning cohort when the next semester starts again, ”Fleming said Tuesday.

But after months of being told not to meet with more than 50 people, to physically walk away and wear masks when you can’t, the news of classroom education has surprised many parents.

“They don’t just give parents options,” Almendrala said.

“I would prefer the government to give us options on whether we can keep our kids in virtual learning. ”

He has an 11 year old son and a 9 year old daughter who both go to school in Richmond. He told CTV News that he and his wife changed their work schedules to handle the distance learning that was put in place in June and that for them it was working.

“Why risk sending the children to school when we have already established our schedules to make sure that at least one person is always home with the children,” he said.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, David Sadler, director of communications and marketing for Richmond School District 38, said in part, “Parents have always had the option of putting their child into a program. distributed learning and will continue to have that option if they choose not to enroll their child in their neighborhood school program. Parents who choose to enroll their child in their neighborhood school will have to send their child to school. ”

Sadler went on to say that the school district is following the guidelines of provincial health experts and that the safety of students, staff and families is a top priority, but that “distance learning opportunities are most likely not offered as they were in the spring, unless the public health conditions were to change. ”

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said in a statement that they “encourage parents to enroll their children as they normally would and will continue to work to build their confidence in the safe restart of learning by. class”.

The spokesperson added that public and independent schools offer distributed learning courses that “provide students with an alternative route to learn outside of a regular classroom. Students may enroll in schools distributed outside their home district. Students enrolled in public distributed learning classes are connected to a teacher for the class, term, or year course. ”

Almendrala looked into home schooling as an alternative, but said he would prefer his children to be educated by their teachers, saying he and his wife are not educators.

“All we want is for the BC government to give us options to do virtual learning and not just push for a single mandate for all parents.

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