The distance education program through Navigate (NIDES) has been seen some large gains in enrolment. Image, screenshot

The distance education program through Navigate (NIDES) has been seen some large gains in enrolment. Image, screenshot

Comox Valley school enrolment up despite fewer kids in class

Growth being driven heavily by increase in distance education numbers

Even with all the upheaval around getting students back to classes, School District 71 has seen a marked increase in the numbers of students.

It was a bit of an ordeal to determine for district staff, as many students opted for home or distance education options. Some signed up through other districts, while students from elsewhere have registered for the Comox Valley. In the end, the district has ended up with more students than they projected.

“This year was the most complicated projection cycle ever, with COVID coming in,” assistant superintendent Geoff Manning told the board at the Oct. 27 board meeting.

Typically, the district passes a preliminary budget for the coming year in June. Based on the number of students as of Sept. 30, the Ministry of Education calculates a district’s operating grant, which is then used for a final budget for the school year. Due to all the changes to how classes are delivered due to COVID-19 restrictions though, it was harder for the district to get a clear picture.

There are fewer students in actual classrooms, as the district lost 413 students from classes in “brick and mortar” schools. Of these, 244 signed up with Navigate (NIDES) for distance learning and 62 became direct home-schoolers through the district, meaning roughly three-quarters were not actually lost, though some are funded differently.

In all, the district was well above projections, particularly through online classes at Navigate (NIDES). In all, the growth in the district works out, after factoring in losses in some areas and growth in others, to about 900 additional students more than had been projected. This has meant challenges for NIDES, so the board’s education committee will be hearing from NIDES at its next meeting in December.

“It was like adding a Vanier or an Isfeld to the school district,” Manning said.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley distance ed lands almost a thousand new students

The net total amounts to just over 9,500 full-time equivalent students, while the actual headcount, which includes part-time students, was roughly 11,400 students.

“We wound up in a very good place, especially compared to other school districts around the province, who were having to go through funding cuts, budget shortfalls, because they lost a lot of those students,” Manning said.

The changes in how students are taking classes right now have meant adjustments everywhere, including among teachers, who have devoted professional development time to learning to use technology such as Zoom or working toward outdoor learning certification in order to incorporate educational opportunities outdoors.

“Teachers are trying to teach in a new atmosphere,” he said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Comox Valley Sports Centre re-opened in the summer. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Sports Centre Commission chair commends staff efforts in challenging year

Comox Valley Sports Centre Commission chair Daniel Arbour delivered a year-end report… Continue reading

The Lamplighters wants to end its lease with the village. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Briefs: Cumberland agrees to end hall lease with Lamplighters

Council aims to add more daytime meetings in 2021 for seniors

A rendering of the proposed window covering and sign for the business planned for downtown Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland report
Cumberland approves location change for cannabis permit

Site next door to the one planned seen as more financially feasible

The DPAC is holding an online forum on Nov. 30 for candidates for the upcoming school district byelection. Screenshot DPAC poster
Online forum for Comox Valley school board byelection is Nov. 30

Six candidates have filed papers to fill the trustee position in Area C

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read