Education is changing during trying times

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The face of education is changing after schools closed March 16 over the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the message from Laura Poloz, superintendent of High Prairie School Division.

“Education is changing,” Poloz says.

“We are doing our best to provide our staff, students, and families with accurate, timely information as is possible.”

Staff is working to deliver content to students remotely.

“Our focus is to provide a continuity of education in an equitable fashion with respect for the health and safety of everyone involved,” Poloz says.

Education may include various electronic methods such as e-mail, Google Classroom, Zoom meetings and other means.

All Grade 6 and Grade 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams are cancelled, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announced March 20.

Under special circumstances, students can request to write a diploma exam. Students wishing to do so, are requested to contact their teacher and school administrator.

Other directives from LaGrange include:

K-Grade 3

Education content will focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes of the provincial curriculum.
Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 4-6

Education content will continue to focus on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy outcomes, and there will be opportunity to incorporate science and social studies outcomes through cross-curricular learn- ing.
Teachers will assign an average of five hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 7-9

Education content will focus on core Mathematics, Language/Literacy, Science and Social Studies curriculum outcomes.
Teachers will assign an average of 10 hours of work per student per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Grades 10-12

Education content will focus on specified and core courses required for high school graduation requirements, including language [English, French and French Language Arts], Social Studies, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
Content from other courses will be delivered where possible, and accommodations for students unable to complete courses are in place.
Teachers will assign an average of three hours of work per course per week, and will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of these materials.

Poloz appreciates the support and understanding during an uncertain time.

“I thank you all for your patience as we work through things like the return of school and busing fees and student access to technology,” Poloz says.

“Details will be provided as soon as we have them worked out, which has proven difficult given the ever-changing situation we are all facing.”

The information HPSD receives is changing weekly, daily, and even hourly.

Poloz says even before HPSD received the directive from Alberta Education, staff were prepping materials for students, checking in with students and their families, and being a source of collegial strength to their coworkers.

Not all staff have been able to be in school each day. Many faced childcare needs, self- isolation, and diminished mental health as a result of COVID-19.

HPSD is committed to supporting its team and is asking any staff member to use vacation, sick leave, or any other leave for days missed.

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