EDITORIAL: Raise your hand if you have questions about B.C.'s back-to-school plan

The province’s back-to-school announcement, involving a more or less full-time return to the classroom this fall, doubtless came as a relief to many parents. It’s also given both parents and educators plenty to think about.

First is a tacit acknowledgment that the online learning of the spring didn’t work for many families. At best, there was a lot less actual learning happening for students. At worst, vulnerable kids struggled with isolation and a lack of social supports, and parents trying to work full time while pinch-hitting as teachers were soon at their wits’ end.

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Unfortunately, COVID-19 is likely to stick around for a while.

B.C.’s plan seems predicated on a few factors, among them, that schools have not been shown as places where significant spread of the virus has occurred, and that younger kids are less likely to get the virus and probably less likely to spread it than adults.

It also acknowledges a relatively low rate of community transmission in many parts of the province, especially compared to other jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S.

But knowledge about COVID-19 is still changing rapidly.

It’s valid to ask if the science the plan is based on is up-to-date, and what the experiences of school systems around the globe have been, particularly for older students.

At the end of the day, however, there is no risk-free plan, and no option without downsides. We’re all being forced to make the best of a bad situation. We’re prepared to trust the experts who’ve contained our pandemic so far, knowing that changing circumstances will warrant a changing response.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.

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