A group of students follows a yoga video to start their morning during a summer school session at Penfield Elementary School on July 15, 2020. Photo by Marissa Tiel – Campbell River Mirror

TIEL’S TALES: To send your child to school or not? Parents mull fall dilemma

Campbell River School district to offer in-class or hybrid learning

It’s no secret that school is going to look a lot different this fall. But just how different it will look to the approximately 5,000 students in the Campbell River School District was something parents were hoping to find out during a special school board meeting on Aug. 25.

Board trustees and district staff met in a room at Timberline Secondary to satisfy physical distancing requirements – part of our new normal these days.

Following the Ministry of Education’s late-July announcement that schools would be entering Stage 2 –a return to full-time, in-class instruction– this fall, school districts were forced to come up with plans to satisfy provincial requirements. This was something SD72 had already been doing, but the cohort designation that will be used this fall came as a surprise. So they rejigged their plans, which were approved by the province and presented those plans during the virtual meeting. It was the only item on the agenda of a highly-attended meeting. According to the district the over two-hour-long meeting, which was hosted through Microsoft Teams, had 600 unique attendees.

After presenting the plan (see related coverage), trustees and staff answered incoming questions.

While the Ministry of Education sets a top-down approach to many aspects of the return to school, it’s up to individual districts to apply those rules and guidelines locally. So what is happening in our Campbell River School District may not be the same as what is taking place in the Vernon School District, the Prince George School District or even neighbouring Vancouver Island West School District.

That inequality between districts has come under fire from the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. President Terri Mooring wants to see a remote option offered across the province, “that allows their [parents’] child to stay connected to their home school, that allows them to keep their sport in their home school.”

This option is available in Campbell River. It’s called eBlend (for those in kindergarten through Grade 9) and EBOS (for Grade 10 through 12).

With these programs, students remain connected to their schools and will have a spot for in-person instruction for fall 2021. Students in eBlend and EBOS will be supported by a teacher throughout the year and can access option one-on-way support if needed.

For those families not wanting to send their kids to in-person class, this seems like a win, especially if they have the ability to have someone home with their kid.

Now we know that this will not work for everyone. But even if 1/4 of people choose to do this, that’s fewer people in classrooms.

Based on the interest from families, which will be gauged through a survey sent to families at the end of August, the district will assign teachers to either a classroom or to support students in the eBlend and EBOS programs. Unlike the hybrid model from the part-time optional return to school before summer, teachers will not be responsible for both. The district is asking for a one-year commitment from families for whatever option they choose this year, as they can’t guarantee that they’ll have the staffing or the space for mid-year changes.

Our district has now had months to formulate a plan and even had a dry run with sold-out summer school offerings in July.

But as district staff and trustees continue to repeat, the decision on whether to return to in-person school, or not, is ultimately up to parents and guardians.

“Now it is up to parents to decide how they would like to proceed with their children’s education,” said Board Chair Richard Franklin. “As your board chair, I support whatever decision you make and I know our district will do what we can to help.”


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Campbell RiverCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robbie Burns Day will be celebrated a little differently this year, but celebrated it will be as the Tidemark Theatre presents a live virtual celebration that will be available for ticketholders to view for three days. Black Press File Photo
Tidemark Theatre presents Burns Night 2021: The Bard & His Ballads

A tale of whisky and haggis, and of how Robbie Burns would emerge as a champion for the common man

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Bill Reekie and his then-four-year-old granddaughter Lily. Photo contributed
Alzheimer’s – the Unplanned Journey

By Jocelyn Reekie Special to the Mirror “January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month… Continue reading

The Kwiakah First Nation is looking to lease some Crown land at the old Campbell River Gun Range to create a community garden for its members and a series of greenhouses to sell produce to cover operational costs. Black Press File Photo
Kwiakah First Nation looks to open farm at old Campbell River gun range

City defers decision on allowing it until they can consult with other local First Nations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Most Read