Kaden Mann / Staff reporter

Education Minister Rob Fleming has announced that students are able to return to classrooms on a voluntary basis staring on June 1, 2020. Students have the options to return to classroom or continue to work remotely online. According to a CBC article.

All schools will take precautions that have been outlined by the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Schools have been ordered to take precautions and instructions to avoid any illnesses in classrooms. Teri Mooring, president of the B.C. Teachers Federation, stated “there are some concerns about the availability of personal protective equipment. Teachers and students will have the option of wearing personal protective equipment in classrooms, including masks, but the union wants a large enough supply at schools for all those who request it.”

Currently in B.C., 5000 students are in classrooms including many children of essential workers and learners who are struggling.

Parents have struggled with assisting their children with online learning, as returning to work has made it more difficult for students who need extra assistance. However Minister Fleming stated that “some students have thrived in online learning, which he called a “brand-new delivery model that we created out of thin air.”

A majority of students who were interviewed have preferred to stay home and continuing online schooling. Although some lessons have been challenging, due to the pandemic many students have considered to stay home.

Matt Lee, grade 10 student of Gleneagle Secondary, was asked what his thoughts were of returning to school and having the option to either continue remotely online or return to classrooms. Lee stated that, “online school has been pretty simple because most of the work we do is online anyways. The only problem though is that online math [makes it] harder to understand the lessons. Being in class face to face with a teacher would make it easier. If I had a choice to come back to school, I still wouldn’t go because of the virus and how dangerous it is.”

The students are all accepting the new normal life of studying from home instead of physically attending school. Samiya Mahal, grade 9 student of Delview Secondary, stated that “online school has let me sleep in more and not worry about getting ready.”

Austin Mann, grade 7 student of Summit Middle School, has thrived in school from staying at home, attending classes online. Mann stated that “during quarantine, I have been able to get more work done, because my parents work from home, giving me the extra support. If I had a choice to go back to school I would rather stay at home because of the virus.”

Most middle and high school students have improved their studies by staying at home and working online. Younger children, such as elementary, and preschoolers have found online learning difficult. Learners who still have trouble reading and writing are having a difficult time attending classes online. Parents also have to sit bedside their children during online studies which conflicts with work. Erin Bains, parent of an elementary learner, said “online is great and all but my daughter has trouble with reading instructions. I always need to clarify with the teacher regarding homework.”

The younger students want to go back to school as they are missing teachers and friends and do not understand the pandemic. Parents of preschoolers need to assist their children more frequently, as many cannot fluently read or write.

DC Khunkhun, parent of a preschooler, has stated that “my son is only 6 years old and can’t use any online sites all by himself due to his ability to read still.”

Parents of younger children need time off work to assist them in learning, giving them more reasons to send learners back to school. Sandy Kaur, grandmother of a preschooler learner, has said “I would rather have my grandson at school to stay on schedule than being home playing video games or not understand why he can’t play with his friends or family.”

Students of middle of high school have would rather stay at home while they thrived in their classes. Although parents of younger children have found it challenging as face to face learning is more understandable for their learner. “The last two months have been a challenge for all of us,” Fleming said. “Kids learn better around their peers.”

When the students return to school, they are required to wash their hands. “He barely even washes his hands at home I don’t think he will at school either,” Khunkhun stated about his six year old son.

Many have stated their opinion on how they feel about the topic of returning to school, and support the fact that they all have a choice of how they want to proceed with their education.