By Justin Seward
Alberta schools completed their first week of classes under the new COVID-19 restrictions last week.
Grades 7-12 are now required to work at home through at-home learning from Nov. 30 to Jan.8 -excluding the winter break beginning on Dec. 18-and then return to the clasroom on Jan. 11.
Kindergarten to Grade 6 remain in classes until the winter break.
“Surprisingly enough to some extent, everybody was ready to pivot I think,” said Chris Sumner, St. Michael’s School principal.
“Obviously, we’d rather have students here face to face. But the pivot, I think, (has) worked out fairly well. I do a lot of teaching and my classes have been fully attended. The students look like they’re engaged and I think we’ve accomplished a fair amount. Thus far, I think it’s gone reasonably well.”
Sumner felt the school was more prepared compared to the March shutdown.
“Absolutely,” said Sumner.
“I think students, after the March shutdown, they’ve gotten better at being responsible in terms of turning up on time, completing assignments-all of those things.”
Sumner sees the biggest difference being that the school is having all classes as opposed just core subjects back in the spring.
“I think this has helped put students into a routine from Block 1 through Block 8 and as result of that, I think they just feel more comfortable at having a schedule that’s adhered to and as a result they’re doing their work,” he said.
“Our assignments are being completed and I find they’re being completed fairly well.”
The Grades 7, 8,9s will be using Nelson Canada’s Edwin programming-which is in its third year at the school- and allows students access to high quality learning resources on a 2-in-1 laptop.
Grades 10 through 12 are using nice new laptops that were purchased by the school’s parent council.
“It’s still a little strange not having the older students around,” he said.
“We see them everyday through various platforms. But it is a little different, no doubt about it.”
The Kindergarten to Grade 6 students will do online learning from Jan. 4-8 before a return to the classroom on Jan. 11.
“We still have to have that rigor at the younger levels,” he said.
“They’re probably not going to get much homework-if any- at that point. But making sure numeracy and literacy and certainly the faith aspect of our programming is getting across to those students.”