Collaboration and school spirit in the time of COVID-19

Re: 'Dan Davies: B.C.’s COVID-19 education plan', April 7, 2020

I’m writing to your publication to express my gratitude for everyone working across the K-12 education system in B.C. – teachers, support staff, principals and vice-principals, trustees, superintendents and– for the incredible work you are all doing for B.C. kids while in-class learning is suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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We all want certainty during this unprecedented time -- here in B.C. and around the world. Although this is new territory for all of us, British Columbians can be reassured that there is an enormous level of collaboration going on between all K-12 education partners.

The B.C. education system is unique compared to other parts of the country and all of our education partners agree that our collaborative approach is the best way to recognize the diversity of students in our province. Each school needs to support vulnerable children, those with special needs, kids who rely on meal programs, students who live in remote or urban regions, children whose first language isn’t English or French, or kids who may need assistance with internet or technology.

The Ministry of Education has a dedicated team supporting districts with their planning, ensuring everyone is using common guidelines – including health and safety guidelines. School districts and independent school authorities have been asked to put in place learning opportunities for students as soon as practically possible. All plans must ensure a healthy and safe environment for all students, families and employees; provide the services needed to support children of our essential workers; support vulnerable students who may need special assistance; and provide continuity of educational opportunities for all students.

To make sure no student slips through the cracks, we’re providing steady leadership and a measured, collaborative approach. Right now in the fight against COVID-19, we need to come together and support each other so we can do what’s best for B.C. kids and their families. It’s in this spirit that schools throughout B.C. are doing an extraordinary job rolling out their plans.

I am proud of B.C.’s education professionals who are working so hard together to ensure each student and family’s individual needs are supported.

— Rob Fleming, Minister of Education  

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