Community service hours change welcomed by Near North District School Board
(File photo, MyWestNipissingNow staff)
The Ministry of Education’s change to high school students’ community service requirements is a step in the right direction according to the Near North District School Board (NNDSB).
“Every movement forward like this, I think, helps students,” said Tim Graves, superintendent of education at the NNDSB.
The Ministry of Education modified community service requirements for secondary students graduating in 2021 to only have completed 20 hours instead of the traditional 40. Hours can also be earned in different ways and be submitted online rather than on a piece of paper.
“It’s going to be far easier for them to achieve what they normally would have been able to achieve pre-pandemic,” noted Graves.
Activities like helping neighbours shovel snow, or walking a younger sibling to school can now count toward a student’s community service hours as the pandemic has limited involvement opportunities.
“I think it takes away a lot of the barriers students might encounter during a pandemic,” Graves said. “This is particularly important for many of our students who live in rural communities where getting into some of the urban centres is more difficult.”
Being able to submit community hours online also replaces what Graves calls an “impractical” system of recording hours. He says some students would end up having to complete more hours than necessary because they lost their tracking papers.
Graves says schools will be accommodating in how they accept the community hours this year.
“Families are encouraged to work with the school, principal and guidance staff in the ways they submit those hours because it needs to be flexible to recognize the hard work those students have done,” he said.
Graves adds if anyone has questions and concerns about the new community service requirements, they should contact their school directly.