School District 47 is back in operation and preparations have been made for the return of students to local classrooms.
Superintendent of schools Dr. Jay Yule, in outlining the school restart plan at the September 9 school board meeting, thanked everyone involved for their work throughout the summer to come up with the plan. He said he wanted to highlight issues that had come forward in the last few days.
Yule said the school district had held a virtual town hall meeting for the community.
He said there was some new messaging from the provincial minister of education around parents who want remote learning options. He said the district recognized some parents wanted something different and that’s why the individual learning plan has been added, where a plan specific to a family’s needs can be developed.
“There’s a few parents who want something a little bit different,” said Yule. “We do know there is a lot of anxiety out there with the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s probably created more anxiety moving forward. We’ve had a few parents saying they want to wait for a bit and we’ve said that’s fine, we’ll work with them over the next few weeks to make it comfortable for their children to be back in school.”
One difficulty for some families is busing. Yule said because the school district is trying to reduce the number of students on buses, it has not been able to accommodate courtesy rides for those who are outside walk limits going to different schools. Yule said the district has been working with parents to see what kind of alternate plans can be made for students who are not being bused.
“We know it’s a bit of difficulty for some families but we’re doing it to be as safe as possible with our buses,” he added.
Yule said he talked to school district staff prior to school opening and the messaging is tolerance and patience to families and students and to remember everything the district is doing has to do with preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We are not going to be perfect and children are going to make mistakes, staff are going to make mistakes, and we just have to remind each other and move forward and make it as safe as possible for everybody involved,” said Yule. “We do want to hear from all of our stakeholders as we move forward because it is a work in progress. We are doing our best. As school starts up there will be a few glitches and we’ll make the adjustments to the learning agenda and safety agenda as we move forward.”