School district officials and teachers are this week communicating plans to resume instruction in some form.
Planning began after provincial education minister Rob Fleming announced March 17 that while classroom instruction would not resume following any already-planned spring breaks, districts would begin working on how to offer instruction.
To that end, School District 54, as did other school districts, circulated a questionnaire on line for parents and guardians asking if they had internet access at home, how they rated that access, if they could access via publicly-available internet, what kind of devices they use for access and if a parent or guardian is in an essential service work category and in what category.
Further, parents and guardians in essential services were asked if they would be without child care options since schools are not accepting students for classroom instruction.
School District 54 was only one of four school districts across the province where classroom instruction was to have resumed last week.
“The actual learning opportunities will vary between grades, subject areas and capacity of staff and students to access electronic connectivity,” indicated School District 54 in a statement as planning evolved.
Parents and guardians were also contacted last week regarding opportunities to pick up students’ personal items.
“Teachers and administrators miss having your children in the school and look forward to twhen we can return to ‘normal’ classroom and school operations,” School District 54 schools superintendent Mike McDiarmid said in a March 24 letter to parents and guardians.
“Please remember that authentic learning activities take place all the time in our homes — good examples include cooking at home, going on nature walks or tuning up a piece of equipment like a bicycle,” he said.
Meanwhile in letters sent to B.C.’s public school teachers and Canadian Union of Public Employees working in public schools, education minister Rob Fleming said province-wide committees are in place examining every angle for education continuity.
“We don’t know fully what that’s going to look like, but the goal is to keep teachers working and keep students engaged,” Fleming wrote in both letters.
“We also want to assure you that as plans for continuity are developed, government is continuing to fully fund all boards of education and its expectation is that pay will continue at this time for employees whose work would not otherwise have been interrupted save for the pandemic response,” he continued.
As it is, B.C.’s teachers and the province reached a tentative contract deal late last week. It now requires a teacher ratification vote.