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Children's French immersion spots at risk if parents homeschool during pandemic

FILE - The province's return-to-school plan includes having most students back in classes full-time starting this fall.
Summary

Parents of children in French immersion worry their children will lose their program spots if they pull out

A lack of distance learning for French immersion programs leaves few options for parents

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Parents of French immersion students say they have been put in a tough spot during the pandemic as they describe a lack of access to distance learning and worry about their children losing their spots in school.

Since getting into some French immersion schools can be a gruelling challenge, Glyn Lewis with Canadian Parents for French B.C. wants parents to have the ability to pull their kids out for homeschooling temporarily, while still being allowed to return to the same school when the situation is safer.

“Some of these parents had to camp out for two or three nights to get their kids registered in these programs. Now to basically be forced to de-register is not an appealing process to them,” he says.

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“It makes a lot of sense that these parents don’t want to be forced out right now if they’re choosing to do homeschooling for a few months.”

Lewis says there’s also a need for the introduction of proper French immersion distance learning in our province, saying the availability of those programs is close to zero.

“We hear this concern as a major concern right now. If they are trying not to put their kids back into school, they want some viable options, and those viable options just aren’t there right now.”

But he is hopeful the province will be able to address some of the concerns before the school year starts.

Parents have been expressing concern over the province’s back-to-school plan, and earlier this week B.C. teachers pushed the province to re-evaluate its plan. The BC Teachers’ Federation called on the province to meet its demands when it comes to bolstering COVID-19 safety measures, as well as adding more distance learning options.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver School Board shared a proposed plan for fall’s return to school.