School board approves closures in 2010 

Whistler-Blackcomb confirms programs for school break in Olympic year

The Sea to Sky School District has approved a school calendar for the Olympic year, which sees both elementary and secondary schools close during the event.

However, there is still an opportunity for schools in the same geographical area to tweak the calendar to match their needs.

“It can be modified, but schools need to consult with parents and the principals,” said School Board Chair Dave Walden.

The board held a meeting Oct. 22 to adopt the calendar. Members of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) from Whistler’s Myrtle Philip elementary school made a verbal submission to the school outlining some of the concerns they had. The PAC said it would gather more information from its parents with a view to making some modifications to the calendar.

The PAC at Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton sent a letter to the board’s meeting explaining that it would not support the 2010 calendar.

In it the PAC outlined their concerns including:

• VANOC has indicated that they will not be renting the elementary schools, so any financial benefits that could have been gained for the school’s (are unlikely).

• Employers have now given their staff a clearer idea of what is expected of them during the Olympic time period. (No time off) will be the mandate for most companies.

• Families with elementary school-aged children have limited or no options for childcare.

• If transportation is to be an issue between Pemberton and Whistler, how are Pemberton children supposed to get to programs in Whistler?

• Parents believe that consistency in the children’s routine is better served than time off school.

• If schools close during the Olympic period, you will see a dramatic decrease in attendance in March/April. Families will be exhausted and will take the time they need.

SHE’s PAC plans to do a survey of parents in November, at the board’s request, to find out if they want the school open or closed during the Games. It also plans to liaise with Pemberton Secondary.

“Whatever happens in Pemberton would have to happen pretty much for both schools based on the school bussing,” said SHE PAC chair Jenna Markovic.

If parents surveyed want the schools open the board may work to see that happen.

“….if that is what the partners want and we can do it… then the Pemberton elementary could stay open,” said Walden, adding that it would have to work for all the educational partners including teachers, CUPE staff and so on.

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