Most families choosing in-person learning for students

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wednesday, November 18 2020

As Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ transition learning program came to an end on Nov. 6, 96 students had made the move to online, distributed learning for the rest of the school year while 59 students remained undecided as to whether to return to in-person learning or to learn from home. 

District staff provided an update at the Nov. 4 education committee meeting as the NLPS’ transition learning program concluded. The program was announced days before the beginning of the school year as many families were undecided as to whether to register their children for online learning, or return to the classroom. The program gave families until Nov. 6 to come to a final decision on which learning option to choose. The program began with 499 students. By Nov. 4, 332 students had returned to in-class learning while 14 students had opted for homeschooling. Above figures are not the total number of students in distributed learning as some families chose to have their children start with the online option from the beginning of the year. Assistant Superintendent Don Balcombe provided some feedback received from families regarding their decision to go with distributed learning.

“One of the common themes for those families in making that choice is the uncertainty of living through a pandemic, and we went from different stages back in the spring, and there’s no certainty that we’re gonna remain currently in stage 2, and some families just wanted some certainty for what the year would look like.”

A final report on the number of students who chose distributed learning versus in-person learning will be released at a later date.

The conclusion of the program coincides with Island Health announcing two exposures and three clusters of COVID-19 across five NLPS schools (as of Nov. 15). Dover Bay Secondary, John Barsby Secondary and Randerson Ridge Elementary are considered clusters. Ladysmith Secondary and Frank J Ney Elementary are exposures. Exposures happened at Dover Bay on Nov. 2, 5 and 6. Two exposure events occurred at John Barsby, the first spanning Nov. 5 and 6, the second occurring Nov. 9 and 10. Exposures occurred at Randerson Ridge Nov. 4-6, 9 and 10. At Ladysmith Secondary, exposures happened Nov. 9 and 10, 12 and 13. Frank J Ney had one exposure Nov. 12. Visit for current information. In a video message posted Nov. 9, Superintendent Scott Saywell said the district will continue to follow its health and safety measures, including “daily hand wiping of high-touch surfaces and the use of disinfectant sprayers in every school.” He also reminded families to continue to perform daily health checks.