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Corridor parents urged to complete survey on 2010 school

Decision on closure will likely be made in the fall

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By Clare Ogilvie

The long awaited school survey on the 2010 Winter Games calendar is now available for Sea to Sky corridor residents.

It was released on the Howe Sound School district website this week ( www.sd48.bc.ca ) and is also available in schools.

The cut off date for completing it is June 5.

“Your input is very valuable to us,” said Andrée Janyk, school board trustee and chair of the board’s 2010 Committee.

The information will be used by the district to help it make a decision about whether or not to close schools for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games that run from Feb. 12 to 28.

The board is also gathering information from administrative staff, teachers, principals, vice principals, and CUPE workers.

Discussions are on going with both the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Games (VANOC) and the B.C. Ministry of Education about what opportunities are there for students to participate in the experience.

The ministry has already stated that spring break will fall between March 8 and 12 in 2010 so that kids are not out during the Olympics and in particular the Paralympics, which traditionally operates an intense school program.

Currently VANOC has asked for access to the gyms in four secondary schools in the district for volunteers.

“I think everyone is aware of the excitement and the uniqueness of this event,” said Janyk. “The board is aware of the issues and we are weighting them very carefully.”

While generally satisfied with the survey Cathy Jewett, chair of the District Parent Advisory Council, is concerned that the fate of high school students may not be fully understood through it.

Her concerns stem from the fact that some students will be in their grad years and closing the school may have a serious impact on them.

There is also the question of what will happen to youths at risk if the schools are closed.

“What are they going to get up to while they are out of school and whether they are going to be adequately supervised are concerns,” said Jewett.

“Whether they will get into the programs that will keep them out of trouble or whether they won’t take that option is unknown.

“We have to take a look at the big picture. It is not whether it will inconvenience a family, but what is best for the kids and our focus is youth at risk and students at risk. These are students that are already in situations where there may be issues at home or in their community… we want to be sure that those kids don’t fall between the cracks.”

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