School District 52 addresses the idea of online learning and next steps for students

Divya Gill

The idea of learning has become unique as every school board, every school, every teacher and every student learns to navigate the distance learning journey due to COVID-19. Prince Rupert School District 52, has been distance learning and teaching for a little less than a month and now, with the end of the school year school fast approaching, District 52 Superintendent Irene La Pierre said, virtually learning has been challenging but everyone is learning as they go. 

"The online learning has been a very different experience  for most of our children because they were so  accustomed to in class instructions. it was certainly a sharp learning curve for them and their families, for sure we have to  include their parents as a part of the learning community  during COVID-19.

As there are still pros and cons to e-learning, District 52 has found ways to help families continue their children's education in different ways. The school provided families with hard copies of learning books to help students become more engaged through hands on learning in elementary grades. They've also provided technology devices to students who may not have access to them. 

"We have lent out over 200 devices to our families who did not have devices at home to assist them  and so in that way they can we a part of whether it's a zoom meeting or online instruction."

The school will still be following health and safety guidelines to ensure all staff and students are staying safe. However the idea of a partial return for students for the remainder of this year, LaPierre said parents can decide if that is something they want to do. Come September when students are to return to classes the Education Ministry and District 52 have made it their top priority to ensure students, teachers and staff members are safe and protected. 

We are waiting for new health and safety guidelines and they are working very closely  with the provincial health officers, they are working close with work safety, they are working closely with both unions in the province, so there's a  whole collaboration  process going on and we are waiting for the results in terms of new protocols and guidelines. 

Although the start of this year for education took a turn of uncertainty the Education Ministry and School Board 52 are taking every precaution and measure to ensure everyone is safe but also students are learning the material for their current grade. LaPierre ensured report cards will be distributed at the end of June and will encompass what students have learned since March Break. Teachers have used a grading system called Fresh grade which helps determine how each student is doing in terms of grading assigned work and participation during video learning. In September, when students enter their new grade, teachers will be doing assessments to see where each student is at and will make a plan for the remainder of the year to ensure students are successful in their education. 

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