Professional groups throw support behind school opening plan

Support for school opening

A number of associations representing parents, school administrators and trustees have joined forces to throw their support behind the plan to reopen B.C. school to in-class teaching in September.

The plan was unveiled Wednesday by Education Minister Rob Fleming and Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

A joint letter supporting the plan was sent to the ministry, signed by heads of the BC School Trustees Association, BC Confederation Of Parent Advisory Councils, BC School Superintendents Association, BC Association of School Business Officials, and BC Principals’ & Vice Principals’ Association.

Only the BC Teachers' Federation has come out against the plan, saying more time, and more work is needed to keep everybody safe.

In its letter, released Friday, the group says it appreciates the collaborative approach taken by the ministry and the provincial health office.

It goes on to say returning student and staff to the classroom in September is critical, underscoring the fact many students will have been out of the classroom for more than five months.

"Parents, guardians, staff and members of the public should be reassured by the consultation that has taken place with our associations and many other education employee groups, stakeholders and rightsholders in developing the initial plan, and that discussions will continue right through August and into the new school year," the letter states.

"The use of learning groups is a practice, based in science, requested by the provincial health office. Our associations fully support the continued reliance on medical science to guide decisions regarding the safe operation of schools for the duration of this pandemic."

It goes on to say that, while complex, a great deal of thought and planning has gone into the initial planning.

"Student and staff health and safety is at the forefront of every decision, and will continue to guide our input to how critical educational programs and services might best be delivered to all of B.C.’s 600,000 Kindergarten to grade 12 students.

"The students of B.C. deserve our support and we will continue to work diligently through the summer to meet their needs."

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