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Petition asks B.C. to provide online option for back-to-school

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August 13, 2020 - 3:15 PM

A petition has been created calling on B.C.'s education minister to create an online schooling option similar to in-classroom instruction for students this fall.

Some parents and caregivers aren't convinced the province's current return to school plan will keep teachers and students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, petition creator Pamela Woyciehouski wrote at

“Families have a right to keep their children home from school to limit the potential for exposure and spread. However the distance-learning options available currently through the public school system in B.C. are largely independent or self-learning options with limited teaching support,” she wrote.

Woyciehouski said if students had an online schooling option, that delivers a similar amount of material as in-classroom instruction, many parents would choose that option.

READ MORE: B.C. students to be back in classrooms Sept. 10 for orientation

“This will reduce the number of students that need to be accommodated in class and may make it easier to maintain lower class numbers and improve social distancing in the schools. Limiting the number of students in the schools will improve safety for the teachers and students who return to class. Therefore, a comprehensive online schooling option improves safety for those who stay home and for those who go to class,” she wrote.

As of Thursday afternoon, Aug. 13, the petition was over halfway to its 100-signature goal.

Educators in B.C. are scheduled to return to the classroom Sept. 8, while students will be in school for orientation Sept. 10.

Education minister Rob Fleming said on Aug. 12, the gradual restart will allow extra time to orient students and staff on the new health and safety measures in place.

On Aug. 10, school districts were provided with readiness checklists to ensure they are updating their health and safety plans as well as communicating and consulting with their unions, Indigenous rights holders, staff and families in their communities. The B.C. branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and Canadian Union of Public Employees K-12 Presidents Council also support a gradual return to school.

You can find the petition here.

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