On the first week of June, learners have started returning to school “under public health expert guidance that makes it safe to do so” stated by Minister of Education, Rob Fleming on The Star article.
School population has also been limited to 50% of its normal capacity to keep students safe. According to an article on The Star “the Ministry of Education says more than 157,000 kindergarten to grade 12 students – or nearly 30 percent of all students in those grades-went back to school for the first week back during COVID-19 pandemic.”
A letter sent to SD43 , from Fleming and British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) President, Andrea Sinclair has announced that schools are now open for students.
Kindergarten to grade 5 students will have the option to attend school half-time, (2 to 3 days a week). Grade 6 to 12 students will only have the option to attend school once a week. Children of essential workers and students who require additional support will be given the option to attend school full-time.
Schools have taken 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.”
Parents feel that going back to school is helping the students get back into the School routine.
Yash Dabholkar, grade 10, student of Gleneagle Secondary, was asked how he feels about being back at school. “I am going to school right now because my parents thought it would be better academically. When I was just doing online school, I didn’t have a schedule, but now by going to school I get up properly and follow a schedule.”
The transition has been somewhat challenging as it’s been only 7 days into the opening of schools. In the STRAIGHT article there has been “COVID-19 in B.C.: 22 new cases, student attendance levels at reopened schools, and vaccination preparations,”
Jessica Johnson, parent of a grade 1 student, has sent her son to school. She felt that the first day was for the students to get adapted to sitting apart and learning to keep their distance and belonging from each other. “I was not confidence that he would understand the social distancing but by day 2, he managed to adapt to the new regulations in his classroom.” She has concerns about the pandemic, but said “I am checking my son, Dayton’s temperature when he leaves and returns from school.”
Some students that have returned to school are finding it difficult with the new regulations. Learners are afraid of contracting COVID-19 while at school.
As for Samiya Mahal, grade 9 student of Delview High Secondary, had returned to school but is not comfortable. “I went to school on Wednesday; I did not feel comfortable and rather learn from home in my comfort zone. We are asked to clean our hands with sanitizer when we enter and leave the school. The mask is an option, but I feel that everyone should wear a mask. When I come home, I am so paranoid with germs that I need to change my clothing and take a shower.”
In the National Post article, Minister of Education Rob Fleming says in a statement that the province is fortunate to be able to welcome students back to schools under public health expert guidance that makes it safe to do so.