SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Students and teachers in B.C are gearing up for an unprecedented school year starting next week. Although children face the risk of getting COVID-19 when they return, the province and some advocates say there are proper protocols in place to protect everyone in schools.
Cindy Dalglish, is a Surrey parent, and education advocate who says the province and educators have been preparing for this the best they can.
“I just want people to be more gentle with themselves and really be empathetic to different situations. That includes not just the parents but the educators and the people in the school buildings who are doing their darndest, and that goes all the way up to the minister of education,” she says.
Dalglish is a parent to two children returning to school this September. They’re heading into Grade 3 and Grade 7. She says the decision to send them back was an easy one, especially for her youngest.
“That 6 hours of structure that my child would get in class is not what she gets at home. So she can get all the work done in an hour, but then she’s sitting there bored. A bored mind doesn’t do positive things.”
Minister of Education Rob Fleming, Minister says B.C. remains one of the safest places in the world.
The province says they’ve ordered more than one million reusable face masks for every student and staff member, and they’re giving school districts funds for additional handwashing stations, cleaning supplies, and hiring cleaning staff.
“Schools are the best places for students. There is no substitute for in-class learning and, more than that, we know there are unintended negative consequences when children are not in school for extended periods of time,” he writes in a statement.
“.Our ministry and schools are taking science-based, public-health advice and planning to have as many children as possible back in classrooms this September.”
Dalglish agrees that schools are trying to make this work, including having learning groups of students and staff who will be separated from each other throughout the school quarter, semester or year.
“They are working very hard to try and figure this out. They’re making adjustments as they go as we learn more about what this pandemic is and how it impacts all families,” says Dalglish.