As IndigiNews’s education reporter covering Vancouver Island, I’m following all of the latest developments. Every other week, I’ll bring you a roundup of what you need to know about what’s relevant to Indigenous students, teachers, parents and families across Vancouver Island and beyond.
What you need to know: K-12
- Federal funding of $2 billion has been allocated to help provinces and territories reopen their schools and economies safely, reports CBC. Based on student population per province, B.C. will be allocated $242.4 million.
- Details of B.C.’s Phase 2 Restart Plan for schools will vary based on district. School districts will contact all families in their school community to share their safety plan and confirm if they plan to have their child attend classes in September or require another option.
- A hybrid blend of home study, in-class and remote learning was under consideration by the District of Greater Victoria SD61. Surveys were sent to 13,400 student families to determine what options they would choose for their child. The Greater Victoria School District Facebook page, released the results. Approximately 80% out of 13,000 respondents said they want the option of having their child back in school full days.
- Judy Darcy, B.C. ‘s minister of mental health and addictions, announced that $2 million will be provided to schools throughout the province for mental health support amid the COVID-19 crisis.
- The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) recently released a statement of support for First Nations on school restart on their website recognizing that the authority of First Nations independent schools exempt them from government requirements to fully open schools and that they fully respect the authority of individual First Nations to make decisions about school operations in the best interest of their schools and communities and we recognize that there will be a diversity of delivery methods in place for September.
- The W̱SÁNEĆ School Board of Directors says that they hold the health and safety of students, staff and the W̱SÁNEĆ community as the highest priority which is why the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board will be offering remote learning for all their educational programs starting on September 10 until further notice.
What you need to know: Post-secondary
- The University of Victoria (UVic) has announced online classes for the spring, in consultation with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. Following the advice and guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, UVic will continue to offer predominantly online instructions for the spring term (January to April 2021).
- The UVic Students’ Society made a presentation to the Saanich Police Board on Sept. 1, calling on the Saanich Police Board to end street checks in Saanich and to build a more effective response to citizens experiencing mental health distress.
- Uvic announced a $13 million investment by the province that will enable the school to build its much-anticipated national centre for Indigenous law. The new addition will be home to the world’s first joint degree in Indigenous legal orders and Canadian common law (JD/JID). The 2,440-square-metre (26,264-sq.-ft.) addition to the Anne and Murray Fraser (Law) Building is designed to reflect and honour the law school’s location and long-standing relationship with the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ Peoples on whose territory the university resides.
- Camosun College president Sherri Bell released a Covid-10 Update on Sept. 2 stating that the college will be opening its doors to students on campus this fall with the amount of students at any one time being very limited as they plan for a mix in the delivery of courses. Delivering courses remotely when possible and for courses that require students to come onto campus the college will deliver course teachings in a way that is safe for students and employees.
- Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s annual Aboriginal Back to School Picnic was held on Sept. 1, supplying Indigenous students in need with free back to school supplies.
- Child welfare advocate Ruby Barclay is uplifting youth to address local barriers through the Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council.
- Indigenous crisis line KUU-US is seeing a rise in COVID-19 related calls. Based in Port Alberni, KUU-US provides crisis line services to Indigenous Peoples throughout B.C.
This week many schools are reopening, so however your back to school looks this fall, we hope that you stay well while you learn!
That’s it for this week! If you have news or information that you want to share, email me: [email protected]