Langley School District is working to implement a local back-to-school plan to be made available by Aug. 26. (Government of BC photo)

Parents split on return to school in Langley

Firm opinions are coming in to DPAC, but it’s unclear whether there’s a majority view

Are parents eager to get their kids back into Langley schools, or fearful and determined to keep them home?

So far, there’s no clear consensus among local parents said the president of the Langley District Parents Advisory Council (DPAC).

“There’s just nothing super consistent about what parents are feeling,” said Alicia Rempel.

Some parents are determined their children will go back into school, others are equally determined that it isn’t safe enough, Rempel said.

“Parents are understandably anxious about September,” she noted.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the previous plan of returning students on Sept. 8 will be delayed.

READ MORE: B.C. prepares back to school plan for students

READ MORE: Langley School District working to localize B.C.’s back-to-school plan

Rempel said the local plan will have to be calibrated for Langley, which has about 23,000 students.

“Obviously, our plan is going to look at lot different than something in Northern B.C.,” she said.

Even on the details, there seems to be no consensus among parents, Rempel said. Should kids wear mask in class? Parents are split.

DPAC is currently asking parents to come to them with questions or concerns so they can be brought to the district staff during the planning process for the return.

Wider concerns around vulnerable family members are among those being raised.

“In Langley we have lots of multi-generation homes, and it’s a real concern,” she said.

Rempel’s own family includes her mother, a senior.

Her children are set to return to Grades 2, 4 and 7 this year, spanning elementary and middle schools.

“I’m kind of in the same boat, I want to see a plan,” she said.

The provincial plan called for students to return to class in “cohorts” of 60 students, teachers, and other staff for elementary grades, and up to 120 for high school aged students.

Districts are working on more detailed plans to get kids back into the class. Those plans are to be released publicly to parents by Aug. 26 in Langley.

Langley school board chair Megan Dykeman has children going into Grades 10 and 12, and said she understands how stressful it is to parents.

When it comes to parental input, the board is listening to DPAC, but they have also received some letters directly from parents.

Many were asking questions about how the return will work, but others had firm opinions about the return, one way or another, Dykeman said.

The board has also been getting questions from Grade 12 students, who are particularly concerned about what will happen to their last year of public schooling.

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