Coronavirus: Spring break ends, but B.C.’s remote teaching plans still unclear

Spring break is over, but children and teens across B.C. remained at home Monday, as educators scramble to roll out alternative learning arrangements amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The province suspended in-class education for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 until further notice on March 17, when spring break was all but underway. Now that it’s over, with no end to the suspension in  sight, some parents say they’re hearing that they may have to wait until next week to learn how teaching will continue.

Speaking on CKNW’s Mike Smyth Show on Monday, BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring asked parents to be patient while educators iron out their strategy.

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“There’s a lot of planning that has to happen this week,” she said.

“No one has ever been in these situations before, and no one has had to provide instruction to, you know, all students remotely before.”

Administrators did some planning work over spring break, she said, but this week is the first chance teachers have to work collaboratively on larger solutions.

Right now, they’re evaluating a variety of online learning tools, Mooring said, and the final decisions on how to proceed will vary by instructor and school.

“And in some communities, online learning is not available either because there isn’t appropriate internet access, or some families don’t have access to computers.”

The Ministry of Education is aiming to roll out “learning opportunities” by mid-April, a timeline Mooring called “reasonable.”

Parents are being told they should hear from teachers or school principals about those teaching plans late this week or early next week.

For parents looking to get their child started sooner, the province has posted a number of resources at openschool.bc.ca.

Parents who work in critical sectors such as health care are being asked to contact their school principal directly to discuss the possibility of childcare and instruction while they are at work.

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