School board extends Olympic survey deadline 

Only 500 responses to date; board would like to get at least 1,000

By Clare Ogilvie

The Howe Sound School Board has decided to extend until Friday the deadline for the survey on whether schools should be open or closed during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“There was some confusion,” said Andree´ Janyk, chair of the board’s 2010 Committee.

“So we have decided to extend the survey deadline until Friday (June 8).”

To date the board has received about 500 surveys. It would like to get at least 1,000 to 1,500. There are 4,500 students in the school district.

Janyk is encouraging all households to fill out a survey.

“This is an opportunity to voice your opinion and have your opinion counted,” she said.

  “It is very important.”

The survey is available on the Howe Sound School district website ( www.sd48.bc.ca ) and is also available in schools.

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

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 there are 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 operate an intense school program.

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

The school board, which hired a professional group to produce the survey, hopes to make a decision on the issue by the beginning of the next school year at the latest.

The survey gives parents three main choices when it comes to the school closure issue.

The first option is to close form Feb.12 th to 28 th , the second option is to close Feb. 5 th to 28 th and the third option is to keep all schools open.

Parents are asked to give their first, second and third choice.

Other topics covered in the survey include general views of the school district, views of the 2010 Games, the schools and the Olympics, and how to make up instructional time if the schools close.

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