Hi #bced, can we talk about language for a minute? There's a lot of confusion tonight about the public health order for phased restart. Dr Henry said 'children of essential workers and those with special needs' can return next week. 1/?
And then later, @JM_Whiteside referenced students who may need a bit of extra help, and said that 'schools will be open for students whose parents are health care workers and for those students with support needs who require care.' 2/?
She said that parents should reach out to their school principal to make arrangements. But the website says districts will reach out to you. (We advise you to reach out by the way). 3/?
Reporters present tweeted about this and shared news articles. Then the government released their updated website: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/ed… 4/?
It says: "Teachers will return next week. Students will return January 10th. Some students can return earlier. School Districts will contact parents to arrange a return to school for:
Students whose parents work in the health care system
Students with exceptional needs
5/? It says: "Teachers will return next week. Students will
Lots to unpack. First, why can't anyone #SayDisabled? It's not a dirty word. And in this case, without it there's no clarity about who is meant. Exceptional needs? There's no definition for this term on the #bced website. It is used in some other jurisdictions but not in BC. 6/?
It can also deny access to rights. Disabled people have #HumanRights protections. Exceptional people do not. Vulnerable students is a defined term by #bced but was not used here. What about kids in care? Indigenous students? 7/?
The thing is, the language was developed last year and included in the guidance documents for school districts and independent school authorities. Students with #disabilities and diverse abilities, and vulnerable learners. This language was consistently used and applied. 8/?
Essential workers. This was also clearly defined last year. It's still well defined on the government's COVID-19 response website: xxx 9/?
When speaking the words of a public health order, we expect the #PHO to be aware of what they are saying, and for the words to be specific and accurate. And yet on the #bced website, it's 'people working in the health care system'. 10/?
This is obviously confusing. Both of these shifts in language are. And what happens is that it starts to spread. Reporters are sharing what they heard in the presser, and may not yet be aware that it's now different on the website. We're not sure whose words are accurate. 11/?
Schools and districts in #bced have already begun communicating about it. Some have said disabled children will have access, and children of essential workers. Others have said 'some' children with diverse needs. 'Some' children of essential health workers. 12/?
60 school districts, plus all of the independent school authorities in #bced are going to communicate this information as inconsistently as the information they received. Families are already confused. 13/?
Things are likely to shift a number of times over the next few weeks. Using consistent, right-based language is going to be very important. #SayDisabled, name rights holders, be clear about the very important language of #PublicHealth orders, in #bced and all other areas. 14/14
We may continue to add to this thread. If you have updates on language or accuracy of health orders, please share here!
We really intended to include a link here but are still looking for it.
A third version of the language is on this press release, which says "During this time, schools will be open for limited numbers of students in particular need. Districts will be communicating out to families about how this process will work."

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More from @BCEdAccess

29 Dec 21
We asked families of disabled children and youth about #BackToSchool in #bced, in light of the #Omicron variant. They want overwhelmingly for their children to not be left out and excluded from their education. 1/?
Families need information, choice, flexibility, and protection for their children. Many families of the most medically vulnerable students want a delayed start date, booster vaccinations for staff and these parents, 2nd shots for medically vulnerable 5-11 year olds, 2/?
Parents of disabled kids want expedited work on ventilation in #bced and transparency about this status in schools, as well as about exposures - a return to swift notifications. 3/?
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