Local school staff across all levels of learning are planning how to continue teaching their curriculum beyond the classrooms. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

School District 82 set to resume classes; college already online

School district staff are working on what form classes will take

School District 82 officials here are figuring how classes might now be conducted following the conclusion of a regularly-scheduled spring break which ends March 27.

An online survey distributed late last week asked parents and guardians what school their children attend, if they had WIFI access at home and whether they used a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet or smartphone to regularly connect to the internet.

It also asked parents and guardians if their employment was considered an essential service and, if so, what their occupation was and if they had child care arrangements in place or needed child care.

“Further information regarding the continuity of learning for our students, or what school will look like, will be communicated to parents/guardians after spring break,” said a notice accompanying the survey. Parents and guardians were asked to complete as of March 23.

While school district officials are pouring over responses to the online survey to parents and guardians it has begun to build a communications network for employees and students.

“Microsoft Office 365 is one of the school district’s tools that will be utilized to provide education for our students,” the district emphasized in a notice to employees and teachers.

In a March 19 directive, senior officials said “time is of the essence” to utilize Microsoft 365 for learning continuity.

Work on how classes might be conducted electronically follow a March 17 directive from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and relayed through provincial education minister Rob Fleming suspending all in-class instruction.

“While classroom lessons are suspended it is expected that schools will implement a variety of measures to ensure continued learning for students,” Fleming wrote in a letter to school districts, parents and guardians.

Acting School District 82 superintendent Janet Meyer also urged parents and guardians to trust “only reliable sources of information and to refrain from passing on information which may not be accurate.”

Meanwhile, Coast Mountain College instructors began preparing their own online communications methods last week and some instructors have already begun working electronically with students.

“For most students, today marks moving into new ways of learning as we transition away from face-to-face classes,” a March 23 update from the college indicated.

“A big thank-you to our faculty and instructors for embracing the challenge of moving to new distributed learning models to promote the physical distancing required during this time.”

The college suspended face-to-face instruction the middle of last week in preparation for moving classes on line.

Its senior administrators are also asking the provincial government for clarity surrounding the continued employment and pay for employees.

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