By TODD STONE
MLA, Kamloops-South Thompson
AS HAS BEEN THE CASE for thousands of parents across British Columbia, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the NDP government’s back-to-school plan.
My colleagues and I have received hundreds of letters from concerned parents, teachers and administrators, all of whom are increasingly frustrated and anxious about the NDP’s ever-changing plan with its lack of clarity, lack of sufficient resourcing and lack of availability of hybrid learning options.
With our three daughters in the public-school system here in Kamloops, our family, too, has struggled to make sense of all this confusion as the NDP has been all over the map on this file.
First, there was going to be one province-wide plan. Then that changed to ‘there will be 60 plans’, specific to each school district.
Sept. 8 was a hard deadline for resumption of in-person classes; then the NDP announced that classes won’t start until after that date. There’s no certainty as to how long and how often children will be in class, and what before- and after-school care will look like.
After making hybrid learning options available to all students last June, inexplicably the NDP have now decided to not make these options available to students as of the resumption of school in September.
This was confirmed in an e-mail my wife and I received from our local School District 73, within which we were formally advised of the following: “The hybrid model of in-class instruction and remote learning that was offered in June will not be available this fall. Parents have the option to send children to in-class instruction or they can choose Online and Distributed Learning… A third option is homeschooling, which is usually provided by a family member… Moving a student means they will leave their current school.
“For planning purposes, we ask parents and guardians to notify their school to advise if their child is leaving. If there is a decision to later return to their school, they will need to re-apply for a seat in a School of Choice, or re-register in their Neighbourhood school.”