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High school parents resigned to 17-day closure

Focus now on making sure students are safe and experience Olympics

Whistler Secondary parents have abandoned plans to try and re-open the school for part of the period of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"I think the (Parent Advisory Council) is resigned as to what is going to happen," said Cathy Jewett, chair of the District PAC and a high school parent.

"They are not happy about it, but we have started to talk about the opportunities that we can find from this."

High school parents met Tuesday night at their monthly meeting with school district trustees and staff to talk about this and other issues.

"The school board may be very satisfied with the process but the parents are not and ultimately what is missing in education is communication and discussion between parents and teachers," said Jewett.

"What happened at Whistler Secondary is that the teachers felt very strongly one way and the parents felt very strongly another way and there was no opportunity for us to sit down together and to discuss this to see what our reasoning is."

Under the current school district calendar the school is closed for three and a half weeks, or 17 instructional days, from Feb. 8 to March 2, 2010.
In a recent survey on the calendar the majority of parents polled wanted the closure to be only 10 days while the majority of teachers and staff wanted the closure to stay at 17 days.

At one point it was suggested that parents might start a petition to try and change the calendar so kids are in school more over the Olympic period or even set up a phone tree to call every parent to see how many kids would not be attending at Games time.

But said Jewett: "There will be no petition, no phone tree."

Parents are considering calling a meeting in September to see what kind of programs can be put in place at Games time to make sure vulnerable kids will be safe while school is out and parents are working.