An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KIDS ARE BACK in class as of yesterday and School District 73 deserves credit for its logical, nimble approach to keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.
The district has come up with a four-scenario plan ranging from full in-school learning to a return to online teaching — with hybrid measures in between — if Omicron continues its rampage and drastic measures are called for.
Not everyone thinks putting children back in classrooms is a good idea, especially given the shocking rapidity with which the variant has spread but the school district’s approach recognizes the importance of the school environment to the well-being of students.
It’s Continuity of Learning Plan, as the district calls it, is a best effort to reconcile the threat of the virus with the need to continue with the job of getting our kids an education.
For those who ask why it’s OK to open up the schools while closing down a range of businesses, keep in mind school authorities do their planning within the rules laid down by Dr. Bonnie Henry, rather than taking a rebellious attitude. She has decided that it’s OK to get kids back in classrooms and SD73 has a plan to make it happen.
As the plan states, it aligns “health procedures with public health guidance to support student and staff wellness, with a focus on mental health.” As rapid testing becomes widely available, it will add another level of protection.
A possible fly in the ointment is a situation in which so many teachers come down with Omicron that there simply isn’t enough of them to keep a particular school open. The district recognizes that possibility, though, and is ready to pivot if the closure of an individual school becomes necessary.
Without saying it, the return-to-school plan — with its enhanced safety measures — recognizes the reality that we’re going to live with COVID for a long while yet rather than expecting it to be conquered.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.