Parents have expressed the need for more options than returning to classrooms. (Black Press file).

Online comments reflect parent worries about school reopening

Frustrated responses to Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district’s online poll results

Many parents appear frustrated with the School District 42 back-to-school plan, and not having enough options.

The News reported on a district survey showing 90-95 per cent of parents in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows plan to send their kids back to class later this month.

The reaction to the story was huge, with more than 110 comments posted over the next day. Many parents complained the district’s survey did not give them options.

“When the survey only gives you two choices: home school or regular school, I’m not surprised by the numbers,” wrote Ell Bell. “Wish we had a choice like back in June where we could continue online learning within our school/class, reduce classroom size and join the class if/when we are ready.”

Elizabeth Hand said she “didn’t really have any other option but to say yes. I do not have the tools for remote learning, we struggled at the end of the last year trying to do assignments on my phone, and (with) no printer, and when I go back to work who else would be responsible for teaching my child?”

“Parents were forced to answer yes otherwise their kids would be unrolled from school,” said Dana Halliday-Greening. “So the survey is completely inaccurate. I answered yes, however in my comments I said I was unsure due to numbers, social distancing, no remote learning opportunities. To say this was an accurate survey is a total farce.”

Amy Perras said “Interesting that gradual entry and remote learning are listed as options, but weren’t options on the survey.”

“Only option was Yes or No, and from parents I have spoken to many put yes even though they are very unsure if they even want to send their children, and were just worried that if they said no that they would possibly loose their spot,” wrote Carmela Melo.

READ ALSO: Majority of students will attend classes in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

School district senior manager of communications and community relations Irena Pochop, said accurate numbers were important in the online survey, which closed Tuesday evening.

“The intent of the survey was for us to get a general sense of how many students will be returning, which is why it had to be structured as a yes or no,” said Pochop. “At the same time, we did feel it was critical for us to know if parents were having serious concerns about the return, and for this reason we embedded in the survey the opportunity for all respondents to provide us with additional feedback.

“Many parents who responded ‘yes’ also shared their reservations, and we are taking those into consideration. School principals are following up with all families who expressed concerns to see how these might best be addressed at the school level.”

She said there is a communication from the district to parents going out on Thursday, as a follow-up to the survey. The letter reviews options in the school district and again encourage families who continue to have reservations about the return to school to connect with their child’s school principal to discuss their individual family needs.

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