Editorial: Back to school, or not?

As we move forward with the four-phase plan for BC, June 1 marks the return to school for students and parents opting to give part-time instruction a go.

Things will look different in the schools: desks spaced apart, hallway access limited to avoid groups or gatherings, regular cleaning of surfaces and high-touch areas, handwashing stations set up outside with requirements to wash hands before entry, staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, and an overall increase in time spent outside. There will be no sharing of food, personal items or equipment.

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We know students of essential workers may already be attending schools now. The idea is to increase this number while keeping within COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Comments from parents on social media posts indicate a mixed bag of opinions on the subject. Some are ready for a break and want to see their children back in school, even if only for a couple hours of instruction per week, and some find with only a few weeks of school left before summer break, it is not worth the stress and confusion.

Others have found a pleasing balance between home, work, and family, and have decided it is best to maintain that momentum.

Many parents still feel uneasy about the number of unknowns when it comes to COVID-19 and our younger population, and are opting to remain at home until more concrete information is known.

As parents, we may be able to teach our children lessons and provide activities to keep them engaged and focused, but the social aspect of in-school instruction is also an important consideration for families. But what will that look like in June?

For some families with only children, being in a classroom with others, despite restrictions, may fill a much-needed void. Perhaps older children can grasp these changes and their importance, but how will this look for the younger students?

Will they be able to understand why they can no longer run up and hug their best friends? How will this affect their social and emotional well-being? Is it worth the uncertainty to get started before September? Perhaps it offers a warm-up to the realities of the next school year.

With each decision to be made, a multitude of questions make them challenging. With the return to school and gradual reopening of our province to the “norm” people may have missed in recent weeks, we are offered a choice.

School registration for June is completely voluntary; leaving the decision of whether or not to return entirely up to parents and what they feel is best for their child(ren) and family.

Will your children be attending school part-time come June?

 
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