Editorial: New math may prompt parents to send kids back to school

Province announces greater detail on plans for Jan. 1 in-class instruction

The re-opening of schools being proposed by the province, and School District #83, is receiving mixed reaction among Shuswap residents.

On Friday, May 15, the B.C. government announced some children will start to return to classrooms on a voluntary basis beginning June 1.

“This will be welcome news for many families who have struggled to adjust to remote and online learning, and for parents who are going back to work,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Elementary schools are to be limited to 50 per cent in-class instruction, and middle and secondary schools to 20 per cent in-class instruction, or one day a week.

Given how the virus prompting the province to close schools to begin with is still with us, some parents have said they see little point to kids returning to class for the month or so remaining of the 2019/20 school year.

Read more: More North-Okanagan Shuswap students may be back in class by end of May

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. schools to begin part-time class instruction June 1

Even with safety measures in place, it’s unlikely we can expect children to abide by physical distancing recommendations, especially when so many adults – at least when they’re out shopping – seem incapable of doing the same.

The next stage of reopening schools involves in-class learning for K-5 students on a part-time basis, with some access to in-class learning for Grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis – with Grade 12 students being a priority. Remote and online learning would continue to be available for remaining students.

Prioritizing Grade 12, however possible, makes sense, as does providing options for direct learning for kids of essential workers.

Some parents frustrated with at-home learning might be keen to see their kids return to school in some capacity. Perhaps those parents struggling to learn the tedious and demonstrably over-complicated “new math” along with their grade-schoolers may see an advantage.

The school district and the province have stressed that parents can choose to keep their kids at home if they do not feel it safe.

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