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Too soon for school for some B.C. parents

Last Updated May 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm PDT

FILE - In all, 98 per cent of the 45,000 public school teachers accepted the new contract. (iStock)
Summary

Students can return to school part-time June 1

Not all parents are ready for the change, saying it is too soon, while others aren't sure

Parents will be hearing their school's plan by May 22

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — While some parents might welcome the option for students to return to school, many are saying they aren’t willing to commit – at least not yet.

The province announced Friday students in B.C. have the option to return to school part-time at the beginning of June.

RELATED: Schools in B.C. will resume part-time on June 1

However, until Carla Stuchhi hears more, she is planning on keeping her son home.

“I don’t really feel comfortable making that decision until I actually see something concrete, like in the form of an email from the superintendent of the school district, etcetera,” she says.

Stuchhi is now balancing her eight-year-old child’s education against increased exposure to the virus at school.

“Does that risk sort of outweigh the benefit in terms of continuing with his education versus what I could potentially provide for him at home?”

She adds she wants to see more plans on physical distancing.

“I have to see sort of how everything plays out and then make that decision whether we’re comfortable with it or not.”


Similarly, Krista Schweb hasn’t decided what’s next for her eight-year-old child.

“We have plans in place to keep her home, but at the same time, she’s just so desperate,” she says of her child.

Schweb says she was caught off guard by the announcement.

“I didn’t think this announcement would come this year at all. I just assumed that they would be out of school until the end of June and just go back in September,” she says, adding she’s uneasy about this option for drastic change.

“After being isolated for so long that all of a sudden we’re allowed to be out in the world, I feel really trepidatious about it.”


Mel Wong, of Vancouver, says right now, the uncertainty and risks outweigh the gains for her son.

“We’re going to keep him at home,” she says.

“All it takes is one bad visit to the grocery store. And so much is unknown right now we would rather not take chances.”

Wong says she and her husband are taking advantage of the flexibility their jobs allow.

Some parents, though, don’t have the option or job flexibility to keep their child home even, if they are hesitant about going back to school.

Returning to full-time classes is targeted for September, and the premier has assured parents there is no pressure or risk for students to return sooner than they are ready.

Parents will be hearing their school’s plan by May 22.

RELATED: Divided desks, hand-washing, staggered drop-offs, no sharing of pencils among returning-to-school

The return to school will involve classes being divided in half upon the return and students will be spaced out, along with other guidelines developed by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC health and safety measures, to reduce the risk COVID-19 transmission.

Clear protocols will also need to be in place for the safe and healthy handling of all food items, according to the province.

-With files from Mike Hall