It’s the first week back to school for many students, but some who require additional medical and education assistance are having to stay at home.
Malakai Fast is a 9-year-old boy from Sooke. His mom, Nicole Fast, wants her son to return to school but says he can’t go back due to a lack of nurse support.
“We need more nurses who can help us and who are willing to make the drive. We want to give Malakai the best outcome that we can hope for him,” said Fast.
“Every kid should go to school.”
According to Fast, B.C.’s Ministry of Health has provided enough funds to a private nursing company called Bayshore Health Care to hire nurses needed for the support.
But she says nobody is willing to drive to Sooke to take on the job.
Industry expert Tracy Humphreys from the British Columbia Education Access Society wants more clarity from the government on what parents like the Fasts should do to resolve the issue.
“Nursing support services and public health need to provide better clarity on what the process is, what families need to do and what is expected of school districts because right now it’s unclear,” said Humphreys.
BC United education opposition critic Elenore Sturko says the BCNDP is not doing enough to fix the problem.
“We have not ramped up the services enough to really support the people at school the way they need. We hear from parents time and again you see it on the news, you see it on social media where we have kids with disabilities being told to stay home from school,” said Sturko.
In a statement to CHEK News, B.C.’s Ministry of Education admits that children in the school system still face barriers and that they’re working with school districts to improve the situation.
The ministry added that it works directly with families to find local support.
CHEK News reached out to Bayshore Health Care for comment but did not receive a response by publication.