As September rolls around and our schools reopen their doors to students, British Columbians were hoping we wouldn’t be facing many of the same challenges our education system and communities faced last year. Unfortunately, as our province tackles the fourth wave of COVID and case numbers continue to rise, our families and education staff are going to have to approach this September with the same level of caution as before.
It was through the incredible resilience of our teachers and support staff as well as the compassion and commitment of parents and families that our students were able to continue their education last year despite the incredible challenges of COVID — and it is through their guidance and leadership that we must navigate these opening months of this school year.
As your MLA and the Official Opposition’s Education Critic, I will be spending these crucial months connecting with community advocates, school districts, teachers and support staff to help lobby government to provide the additional supports our schools and staff need. This includes distance learning options for students, HVAC and improved ventilation in schools, and additional funding for PPE and protective measures in classrooms.
COVID is not the only challenge our schools and communities have faced this past year, and the fall will mark another important time for our local communities here in the Interior — a time for us to re-evaluate our province’s response to this year’s devastating wildfire season.
It is the thousands of community members, emergency responders, volunteers and First Nations who have been on the front line fighting these fires and protecting our communities who must lead our province in our re-evaluation of government supports available so that we have the resources we need to keep our businesses, homes, and families safe from future fire seasons.
Together, we will keep our kids learning and our communities safe no matter what this year may throw at us.