Rob Fleming (Province of British Columbia/Flickr)

The return to school for BC students could be delayed, according to Education Minister Rob Fleming.

Kids were expected to return to class on September 8th but following concerns from teachers, the original start date may be in question.

“I have to say that we’re looking at a very different September than in previous years,” said Minister Rob Fleming during question period in the BC Legislature on Tuesday, August 11th.

“Previously, students would come back into class, usually with their previous year’s teachers, and wait a few days for school to be organized for the coming school year.”

On July 29th, the B.C. Ministry of Education, alongside the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced the plan that aimed to have most students back in classrooms on September 8th.

Now, Fleming has said that it is important that school staff and teachers have a few days prior to kids starting their 2020/21 school year.

The original plan would see students divided into learning groups or cohorts in order to reduce the number of contacts each individual has in school. These groups will remain consistent for the remainder of the school term.

For elementary and middle schools, there will be 60 people in each cohort, while in secondary school, there will be a maximum of 120 people in each group.

However, larger schools—those that cater to 1,500-2,000 students and are located primarily in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan—may need to come up with a hybrid approach with a blend of remote, online learning and in-classroom instruction, as seen in June.

In a recent online survey conducted by Canada’s largest polling and marketing research firm, Leger, it was found that just 40 per cent of B.C. parents and guardians are planning on sending their children back to classrooms this fall.

48 per cent said they have not yet made up their minds about what to do with their K-12 aged kids, and just 12 per cent said they will keep them at home.

Meanwhile, on a national scale, 59 per cent of Canadians say they will send their kids to school, 18 per cent will keep them at home, while 23 per cent have not yet decided.

 

With files from Brishti Basu