School District says hybrid learning option is ministry decision

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Sounder News

Wednesday, September 9 2020

When school starts up this month, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools will not offer an in-person/remote learning hybrid option.

The decision to do so is not up to each individual school district, explained Dale Burgos, NLPS’s director of communications, but lies with the Ministry of Education. 

The provincial government established a five-stage framework for learning during Covid-19. Stage 1 is full-time, in-class; stage 2 is full-time, in-class with learning groups; stage 3 is a hybrid of in-class and remote learning; stage 4 is remote learning with exceptions for some families such as essential service workers; and stage 5 is remote learning for all with no exceptions. All school districts are at stage 2 currently.

A number of parents of school-aged children have written to the NLPS board of education urging trustees to advocate for a hybrid learning model, citing models in place for school districts in other provinces.

Not all families are choosing to send their kids back to in-class studies. An NLPS letter to families dated Sept. 2 outlines the learning options available for the outset of the year. 

A new Transition Leaning Program was set up following the results of the Return to School survey sent to families of the 15,000 students in the district. 

Of the 12,000 responses, 83 per cent of families intend to proceed with in-class learning.

Seven per cent have opted to go with distributed learning via Island ConnectED and one per cent will homeschool. Nine per cent are undecided.

For students from kindergarten to grade 9, the district has extended the time for families to make their final decision on in-class or distributed learning until Nov. 6. Until then, they can proceed with either option.

Burgos said no limit has been set on the number of students who can sign up for distributed learning in the district, unlike in previous school years.