Lauren Tuck / Staff reporter
With the slow reopening of British Columbia’s services from the COVID-19 closures, some students are soon going to be attending school again if they have not gone back already. Rob Fleming, education minister, announced on May 15 that there are some changes being made to the school system. High school students will be able to come into class one day per week starting June 1, giving them 20% of their previous in-class learning time. Students will have the option to continue working online, remotely from their home.
Some schools sent out surveys to parents about their children’s learning and if they were going to attend school again or not. This allowed parents to consider the pros and cons of sending their children back for physical classes. “Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to send students back to school yet,” said Tina Cerracchio, parent of a grade 10 student. “It would be nice for students to be able to see their friends again, but it’s too much of a risk of exposure.” She thinks that it is not worth sending the students back for the short amount of time before summer break for how much the students could be exposed to the virus.
Through a CTV News article, the Angus Reid Institute, a Canadian research organization of opinions on important topics, conducted a poll between May 1 and 4 for a group of students from ages 10-17 asking questions about their feelings on remote schooling. “Many said they felt unmotivated while taking classes online,” the article states. Because students can work at their own pace, some are unmotivated to work and having trouble finishing their work. “Another major fear is a family member or their parents getting sick.”*WHO SAYS THIS* Students realize that they are going to be getting exposure to the virus, and even if they are asymptomatic, they want to avoid getting their families sick who may be at a higher risk.
From another perspective, some parents think that their children are not being productive enough in their schoolwork like they should be. “The kids are out of routine so much,” said Eric Nyvall, parent of four from Abbotsford, on a Vancouver Sun article. “I think they are better off in school.” Nyvall is a stay-at-home father working from home, so his family decided to give online schooling a try. He is not worried about the risks of his children returning since he believes that the protocol will do its job.
Many people have had mixed responses to hearing this news. Some parents want their children to be back in school to be able to have the best learning opportunities, while others are afraid of their children bringing the virus back home to their potentially high-risk families. There have been many opinions from both parents and students on how they think this situation should be handled, and they have the freedom to handle the decision.