The union representing B.C. teachers is calling on the provincial government to ensure families in every school district have access to remote learning.
The B.C. Teachers' Federation's comments came after Vancouver and Surrey's school districts both announced there would be alternatives available for families who aren't comfortable sending their kids back to class next week.
"What we're starting to see across the province right now are some districts offering a remote option and others not," union president Teri Mooring said Monday. "We think it's absolutely inequitable for there to be this discrepancy."
Mooring said the lack of options in some districts also "flies in the face of government's own equity and inclusion guidelines," which were developed specifically for B.C.'s restart plan.
The Vancouver School Board has set out four different options for families, ranging from a full return to the classroom to a completely online learning program that follows the provincial curriculum.
Both Vancouver and Surrey are also promising their own version of a "transition" option for students who won't be returning to classes next week but might at a later date.
Those students would "remain enrolled in their local school and would be placed in a learning group for possible transition to in-person instruction this school year," according to the VSB website. More details on the district's plan are expected to be shared this week.
Mooring said the union wants to see B.C. use some of the $242 million in federal funding that's been promised for the coming school year to hire extra teachers to run remote options for families everywhere in the province.
More students learning from home would reduce class sizes, Mooring noted, which would help address a common concern among faculty and parents.
"That and a more robust mask policy and you'll have a lot of families and teachers resting much more easily prior to the start of the school year," she said.