Parents of Parkview Elementary students gathered to get more information on the school’s closure and its implications for their kids on Sept. 23.
School District #83 announced on Friday, Sept. 20, that the school was being closed temporarily due to health concerns.
The meeting, held at Monday evening, Sept. 23, at Eagle River Secondary (ERS) drew good attendance from parents who shared concerns including the length of time some of their children will be spending on buses to schools in Salmon Arm, alternate facilities that class could be held in, and the splitting of families between two or three schools for the duration of Parkview’s closure.
According to a statement released by Parkview, the school’s Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students will be remaining in Sicamous to attend school at Eagle River Secondary for the time being. Students in the Grade 2 and 3, as well as the 3 and 4 split classes will be bused to Salmon Arm’s North Canoe Elementary, and the Grade 4, 5 and 6 students will be going to South Canoe Elementary.
The transportation scheme comes into effect on Sept. 25, when Parkview classes resume at the other schools.
Shuttle buses to Salmon Arm will depart Parkview at 7:50 a.m. and return at 2:15 p.m.
The part of the school day being lost to a bus trip to Salmon Arm is a concern for Malakwa resident Shelley Ferguson. She said the bus ride to Sicamous for her kids is already long, and now that they are going to Salmon Arm they will be on the bus for hours each day.
Ferguson added that she, and other parents, feel their opinions were not considered before the decision to bus students to Salmon Arm was made.
Ferguson said Superintendent Peter Jory agreed to provide parents with an update in two weeks.
Kyla Alldred’s daughter, a Grade 3 student at Parkview, will be bused to North Canoe Elementary while her son, who is in Kindergarten, is going to ERS. She says she is not happy the children will be split up and is also concerned about buses travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway in the winter if the closure persists that long.
Alldred said parents who attended the meeting were told that specialists have been running tests to try to determine the source of the odour in the school, but no estimated time of reopening was provided.
At the meeting, Alldred and Ferguson offered possible alternatives to busing kids to Salmon Arm. Along with community facilities in Sicamous, pressing the disused Malakwa Elementary building back into service was suggested. Alldred and Ferguson both said there would be ample parent volunteers available to get the school ready for students if the district would agree to use it.