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Schools out for Games

Proposal to close schools for Olympics prompts parents to conduct their own survey

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“VANOC is going to be quite aggressively recruiting because then they won’t have to provide beds if they can get people up here, and from our point of view the Games will be an educational experience in itself.”

But concerns have been voiced about what the three-week break from Feb. 8 until Feb. 26 will mean for students writing provincial exams that year.

Whistler Secondary PAC chair Marilyn Creighton said she had received no feedback on the proposal from parents yet but that it would be on the agenda at the next meeting, Sept. 25.

Vernon-Jarvis said the matter has been looked at closely by the board and several options are being considered to make sure Howe Sound students do not lose out when it comes to the provincial exams.

“The Ministry of Education has said that it would be possible to provide exams after the event, in other words alternative exams,” he said.

“In principle we have to make the plans on what people say now and the government has said it may be possible that it could provide other exams. We shouldn’t feel there is only one exam written in stone and you can’t do anything about it.”

Alternately, said Vernon-Jarvis, the board is looking at adding blocks of time to the school day, and even extra days so that students cover all the material they need to for the June exams. The other provincial exams are held in either the last week of January or the first week of February.

District PAC chair Cathy Jewett said it’s important that the board keep in mind that parents have already stated clearly they do not support making up extra time by adding minutes to the school day.

“Parents have spoken out loud and clear that minutes do not equal days,” she said.

Jewett is also anxious to hear what role the Resort Municipality of Whistler will play as the school calendar issue unfolds.

It is that organization, said Jewett, which will be at the forefront of the decisions on what community facilities will be open and closed during the Games and what child care options might be available.

“The municipality is the organization that is holding the answers to many of our questions,” she said.