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Coronavirus: Okanagan schools planning to continue learning through pandemic

Okanagan schools planning to continue learning through pandemic

With spring break coming to an end and classroom instruction suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that doesn’t mean school districts are off the hook.

Okanagan education officials are busily planning to continue serving students through the months ahead.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. confirms 66 new cases, no new deaths

Not only has the province mandated school districts provide learning opportunities for all students including those with disabilities, it’s also asking districts to help essential service workers with children in school, which could mean offering supervision to those students so their parents can work.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Education of Manitoba students now in parents’ hands

Okanagan school districts are now rushing to fulfill those mandates.

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The Vernon School District released a timeline on Thursday telling families that staff will be using next week to finalize learning plans and reach out to each student.

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The president of Vernon’s District Parent Advisory Council Gladys Fraser was happy to see that staff will be checking in with students and that children’s emotional well being is prioritized.

“The learning plans will evolve and develop after that,” said Fraser.

“There are a lot of students that rely on their schools and their classrooms and their peers for a lot of their social and emotional support.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan school divisions to share distance learning plans

The Vernon School District said it will be early April before it can provide the full details on alternate learning to families.

There are other details also still being worked out, including how to help kids who receive much-needed food at school.

READ MORE: What qualifies as an essential service under B.C.’s coronavirus response?

Other Okanagan school districts are in a similar position.

Central Okanagan Public Schools put out a letter, saying next week staff will be planning and implementing offsite learning and determining what services will be offered at schools.

School officials up and down the valley still have a lot to work out in these rapidly-changing times.