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District listens to families, develops fourth back-to-school option

| Categories: COVID-19

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The Vancouver School District recognizes how important it is that families are heard in the process of making decisions for this unique school year. All families with children going into Kindergarten and up to Grade 7 in the 2020-2021 year recently received a survey asking them to share which of four learning options most interests them. 

Option 1 returns students to full time, in-person instruction as per Stage 2 of the BC Government’s Education Restart Plan. Students’ primary learning environments will be their classroom, with safety plans in place for COVID-19 exposure control. Elementary students may also be grouped in learning groups of up to 60 students and staff for recess, lunch or occasional learning activities.

Another option is Home Schooling in which the family has the responsibility to provide for their child’s learning at home. Home School students do not attend part-time classes or participate in any school activities. 

In addition, families can also enrol their child in the Vancouver Learning Network Elementary Program. This is a distributed learning program that operates within the Vancouver School District. This option is well-suited for students who wish to learn at home or who need more flexibility in their schooling schedule. Students follow the provincial curriculum, in a more structured educational program delivery.  

Additionally, we heard that some families are interested in another option. And, the District listened and is exploring a Learn from Home Transition Program. This would be for families who are not ready to have their children return to in-person instruction when school begins in September. It would be a temporary transition option that allows students to learn remotely and to receive some learning support from the District. Students would likely receive support through one-on-one check-in times with a teacher assigned by the District. Children whose families choose this option remain enrolled in their local school and would be placed in a learning group for possible transition to in-person instruction this school year.  

To help schools plan for learning groups and the support students will need, the District shared a survey with families to gauge their preferences. The survey closed at 4:00 on Thursday, August 27. There were 21,206 responses, which represents a 73 per cent return rate.  

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents plan to send their child to school for full-time in-person instruction (Option 1).  Twenty-nine per cent are most interested in the Learn from Home Transition Option (under development). The other two options (Home Schooling and the Vancouver Learning Network) received one per cent each of the responses. 

“We appreciate the time families took to complete the survey released on August 24. Based on these results, the District will develop a fourth option and will share it with families early next week,” says Deena Kotak-Buckley, director of instruction at the Vancouver School District. 

The District looks to these results to inform planning as preparation continues for the start of the school year and beyond. 

For more on preparation for the return to school, watch a video update from Suzanne Hoffman, Superintendent of Schools.

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