Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Covered area situation remains unaddressed and unresolved

Update: Following up from the last post, we have obtained the “Administrative Procedures” that were created by the North Vancouver School District to guide the “Outdoor Learning Spaces” policy, approved in May 2013 (these procedures have not been publicly posted on the North Vancouver School District website yet). The procedures turned out to be essentially the process and forms one would use to add an outdoor “feature” such as a garden, to their school. Sadly, the procedures still do not address covered areas specifically (as covered areas are not “features” like the others listed in that policy, rather they are functional building components and they can be funded within a school build budget), nor do they address the two questions that we have been asking the North Vancouver School Board for years now:

Given North Vancouver’s rain forest climate, and given the fact North Vancouver schools have had covered areas for as long as most can remember (and there has not been any formal or public input into any decisions to take them away), and given the fact that students go outside one to three times during the school day, and finally, given the fact that North Vancouver’s high annual precipitation levels qualify for Ministry of Education funding of covered areas within school build budgets…
  1. Will the North Vancouver School Board make a public commitment to ensure that covered areas are included in future builds and renovations? And if “no”, why not?
  2. Will the North Vancouver School Board make a public commitment toward finding and funding (or substantially funding, along with some reasonable/feasible assistance from PACs) solutions for the schools that had their covered areas omitted or dismantled? And if “no”, why not?
Many feel that the North Vancouver School District should take responsibility for their decisions to omit covered areas. North Vancouver students should not be forever resigned to going to school in this rainy climate without shelter options. Highlands’s parents, numerous parents from other North Vancouver schools, other North Vancouver residents, even some current board members have expressed that they feel there is a need for covered area options for students.  When there is so much concern and support regarding the need for covered areas, why is it that we can’t get the North Vancouver School District/Board to give this issue the attention that it deserves? Isn't it time for the board to make some public commitments regarding covered areas specifically? And if the answers are “No” to questions 1 & 2 above, then please state the reasons as the public has a right to hear them and to know that covered areas have been fully, carefully and publicly considered. These are decisions that will impact thousands upon thousands of North Vancouver students for decades to come.