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Parents to hold rally in Vancouver over 'mixed messaging' in B.C.'s back-to-school plan

Last Updated Aug 13, 2020 at 11:25 am PDT


A group of parents is planning to rally in Vancouver to demand more clarity around B.C.'s back-to-school plan

The parents say there's been too much mixed messaging from the province

Parents cite health concerns for students as well as their family members

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A group of parents is calling for more clarity from the B.C. government on its COVID-19 back-to-school plan.

The parents plan to rally on Thursday to have their voices heard.

“I know I’m not alone here feeling very uncertain. My kids are in high school right now and this is certainly the first time I’ve felt this uncertain about what the school year will look like,” parent Stacey Wakelin says.

She tells NEWS 1130 she’s spoken with other parents who have also expressed concerns about the school year going ahead as planned this year. They hope the plan will “continue to evolve,” adding they don’t believe what’s being proposed right now is adequate.

Wakelin believes there have been too many mixed messages from the government.

“As parents, as families, we’ve been told to keep our bubbles small, which many of us have done,” Wakelin says. “We’re going back to school and we’re talking about in high schools, the cohort of 120 people, elementary up to 60. As we know, all of those students have families in those circles, so that’s definitely an increased bubble.”

In addition to the mixed messaging, Wakelin says parents are also struggling with a lack of options for those who have fears about their kids returning to class amid the health crisis.

“And can you imagine having to choose between the safety of your child and your livelihood? There are just some really heartbreaking stories out there and a lot of stress,” Wakelin tells NEWS 1130. “And there are a lot of instances where there are seniors in the home that are immunocompromised, that have health concerns. So, it’s stressful for these kids who are now going out into the world and potentially will now put that family at risk.

“It is really an awful situation.”

Some parents have pushed for hybrid systems for back to school, such as Ontario’s plan.

Earlier this week, concerns were raised about Lower Mainland home schooling options being in low supply. It was also this week that the province announced students were expected to return to school by Sept. 10 for what’s being described as an orientation period.

The rally will take place at 2:00 p.m. in front of the Joyce SkyTrain Station at Joyce and Vanness streets in Vancouver, near Health Minister Adrian Dix’s constituency office.