Technology — including Wi-Fi use and online communication — was a strong focus at the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of education meeting held on Tuesday at the Creston Education Centre.
The board moved to have the policy committee discuss a proposed resolution by Creston trustee Annette Hambler-Pruden to instruct SD8 staff to use discretion and take precautions when allowing students, particularly in primary grades, to use Wi-Fi connected devices.
“Heaven knows the little devils have enough of them at home,” said Hambler-Pruden.
Her concerns stemmed from medical, scientific and World Health Organization reports regarding safety issues, as well as five unions in France that created strong parameters around their use.
The issue was moved to be discussed by the policy committee after Creston trustee and chair Mel Joy and Crawford Bay trustee Lenora Trenaman pointed out that specifics are unknown.
“What are those limits? What are the ages? If we’re going to send a directive, I think we’d better be clear,” said Trenaman.
•The board approved by consensus a plan to post minutes of committee meetings on the SD8 website, a proposal suggested by Trenaman.
“We have a website that is a wealth of information, and it is also a great vehicle for communicating,” she said. “The work of the board has gotten so that we have many committees and many jobs, and it’s important that we distribute that.”
Hambler-Pruden and Creston trustee Rebecca Huscroft expressed concern that adding the minutes would create unnecessary work for staff.
“I don’t want to agree to something that’s going to add to the staff’s already overfilled bucket,” said Hambler-Pruden.
Supt. Jeff Jones and executive assistant Audrey Mackenzie assured the board that the process would be easy, once pages were set up for each committee, work that could take up to a day.
Hambler-Pruden also felt that there is no demand from the public for the committee minutes to be online.
“Even if it’s not used too much by our community as a whole, us as board members would like to have that one stop,” said Joy. “It would be useful. I think it’s a good idea, and it’s a good idea that we’re working toward that.”
“Those of us who use paper instead of computers don’t have this problem,” said Hambler-Pruden.
•SD8 staff will work to create an online calendar showing committee meeting dates, to help speed up the scheduling process.
“I don’t want Audrey to be the one to have to go to everybody and say, ‘When is it going to happen?’ ” said Joy.
Staff time was also a concern with the calendar.
“I think we have to identify who’s going to be responsible for this,” said innovative learning services director Andy Leathwood.
Joy noted that it would be Mackenzie’s job to add it to the calendar, and the executive assistant had no objection.
“It is just as simple as that,” Mackenzie said.
“Frankly, I think that we can work together on processes,” added Jones. “The intent of this new calendar is to provide a district view of what’s going on.”