MLA Dan Davies – Weekly Column – Back to School and my IDL townhall

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On June 1, children from across the province returned to classrooms after weeks of being kept at home because of the pandemic. It will, however, be a long time before our education system fully returns to normal. So far, only a third of students have returned and are currently only attending part-time.

Adjustments and readjustments will need to be made in our schools as we settle into this new normal and families in Fort St. John and across B.C. have every right to decide when they think it is most appropriate for their children to return to classrooms. For the reopening of classrooms to be as safe and effective as possible, consultation and communication between teachers, families and government will be vital.

In my role as your MLA, as well as the Opposition Critic for Education, I have worked closely with school districts, teachers, and families across B.C. to voice their education concerns to this government. For example, I recently wrote a letter to Education Minister Rob Fleming amplifying many British Columbians’ demand for more supports for our classrooms, including more handwashing stations and additional personal protective equipment for teachers and staff.

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My job as your MLA is not only to help voice the changes you want to see but also stand up against the changes British Columbians don’t want to see. The government’s sudden budget cut to Independent Distributed Learning (IDL) schools has blindsided many students, teachers, and families at a time when these schools need every resource available to them. This 20 per cent cut is going to affect some of our most vulnerable students who depend on these programs and families across British Columbia are
voicing their opposition.

To help those affected, the BC Liberal Caucus has decided to organize a virtual Townhall this Thursday, June 11th, where British Columbians can learn more about the IDL cuts and voice their concerns to MLAs who can help amplify them in the legislature. I will be hosting the event and the details for this can be found at my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/dandaviesbc/

Like students heading back to classrooms, our MLAs are gearing up to head into another legislative session that will look very different from any session in the history of our province. Now is the time to advocate for the changes we want to see so that our schools and institutions can continue to deliver the greatest education possible to our children.

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