More than twice as many elementary parents as high school parents have told the Burnaby school district they’ll be keeping their kids at home when school starts up this month.
The district sent out an electronic survey last week and got responses back for nearly 20,000 students, according to the district.
Not every parent responded, the district said, and some results are still trickling in, but, as of Friday, 78% of elementary parents who filled out the survey indicated their kids would be returning to in-class instruction, compared to 89% of high school parents.
Within that category, 3% of elementary parents and 2% of high school parents chose the “at home learning for medical reasons” option the district is providing to students who are immunocompromised, have an underlying medical condition or are living with someone who does.
These students will be assigned an online-learning teacher who will provide assessment and deliver the full curriculum through Microsoft Teams.
“Medical confirmation may be requested” for this option, according to a factsheet posted on the district’s website.
In the survey results, 10% of both elementary and high school parents said they would be opting for distance learning through Burnaby Online.
But only 1% of the elementary parents and 0.4% of high school parents opted for full-on homeschooling.
One of the reasons a higher percentage of elementary parents may have opted to keep their kids at home this month is that they were given the option to take more time to transition them back to school if they weren't quite ready to decide.
Those students will get periodic check-ins from a district-based, online teacher until their return.
That temporary option was picked by 11% of elementary parents.
The district said it couldn’t extend that choice to high school parents because of the impact it would have on scheduling and the ability to offer electives.
Schools are still calling parents they haven’t heard from, according to the district, and settlement workers are reaching out to people in their own languages in some cases.
Orientations begins for school staff on Tuesday. Students will start orientations on Thursday.
The first day of classes in on Sept. 14.