Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart, 2017 (Submitted photo)

MLA’s view: Back-to-school season, in unfamiliar times

For parents, students, and teachers across the province, September is synonymous with back to school.

It is the same this year, although that is probably the only thing that feels familiar as we work out what sending our children back to school during a pandemic should look like.

The B.C. government’s current plan has left most of the details to individual school districts to decide on their own. Not only does this put added pressure on districts a few weeks before school is set to start, it will also likely lead to a lack of consistency across districts as budgetary differences and other issues will make for different approaches throughout the province.

Not every school district will offer the same choices and some new approaches like moving to shortened semesters in secondary schools will see changes in the format of usual learning.

Please look at your school district’s website to get an understanding of what your child’s school will look like in the coming weeks.

The government’s recent decision to cut $12-million in funding from the independent school learning budget is also quite unfortunate, as those services are needed now more than ever to support the myriad of logistical and personal challenges that are facing families, especially those in rural areas of the province.

With that said, I know that teachers, administrators and school districts are working extra hard to ensure that parents and students as well as teachers feel as safe and supported as possible this school year. I applaud the dedicated focus during these challenging times.

I hope that government does everything necessary to ensure that all students in B.C. can have access to a safe and quality education, because that is what British Columbians deserve — both this year and every year.

Jackie Tegart is the MLA for the Fraser-Nicola riding.

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