Edmonton Bilingual Program needs online learning option

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                                   Give Our Children a Choice 

Dear Honorable Education Minister LaGrange, Trustee Mr. Gibson, Superintendent Mr. Robertson,

We are writing to you regarding our concerns as parents, professionals, volunteer community members, and regular volunteers at Meadowlark Chinese (Mandarin) Bilingual Elementary school in Edmonton.

Currently, there are no provisions for online options for alternative language programs.  More specifically, the current online learning option does not include Chinese (Mandarin) online learning for the Chinese bilingual program. This is a significant portion of the curriculum at the Meadowlark Chinese Bilingual Elementary school and six other elementary schools, four junior high schools and four senior high schools with the Chinese bilingual program in Edmonton. There needs to be an online option available for each grade for the Chinese bilingual program as many families do not speak Chinese at home and/or do not have the resources or time to continue to teach Chinese if there is not a Chinese online option available. Further, many families feel they have no choice and are forced to send their children back to school as the Chinese online learning option is not being offered, even though they are not comfortable doing so for health-related concerns. We are requesting specific funding to allocate specific resource to support the Chinese bilingual program online as an option for all grades commencing Q1 – September 3, 2020 and for all of the subsequent quarters. 

With the community transmission rate on the rise, the chance of a positive case in a class cohort remains high. Without a Chinese online learning option, if a cohort gets quarantined or worse a school closure, it would be too late to provide any Chinese learning for the students. Health specialists across the board have warned we will likely endure the most difficult health crisis this upcoming fall and winter seasons. Numerous institutions and entire countries have faltered because of a lack of forward thinking and “proactive” planning. Without a doubt, the need for online learning will only grow and if left only to “reactive” planning our children will be left in the dust should anything happen. We cannot order medical supplies based on the demands today, and nor should we plan online learning only based on the demands surveyed today. As such, we feel the current re-entry plan does not have the best interests of the health and safety of all students and their families. Please do not sacrifice the health, well-being and education of our children and their families for the sake of restarting the education system. There are hundreds of students and their parents who have invested thousands of hours over the years into the Chinese bilingual program. We have worked very hard together. Please do not fail us now.

Leanna Chan, Gina Wong, Dr. David Sun, Weijia Cao
黄慧静,Gina Wong,孙维医生,曹薇嘉