Division News Article

Q&As—Temporary shift to learning-at-home

May 5th, 2021

On May 4th, the province announced that all K-12 students would shift to learning-at-home beginning on Friday, May 7th. This temporary shift will last until Tuesday, May 25th, the day after the May long weekend.

The shift to at-home learning for the whole province is temporary and intended to help resolve the multitude of staff shortages and other associated pressures experienced by many school boards, including ours. The number of positive cases in the province has impacted schools and significant time has been spent completing the contact tracing processes. A significant number of students have had to be in quarantine because they’ve been identified as “close contacts.”

What does this mean for students, school staff and families?

The following Questions and Answers should answer most questions. If you have specific questions about your situation, please contact your school directly.

Will students be expected to maintain the same pace as in-class learning?

  • Teachers will focus student work in K-6 on literacy and numeracy and have the flexibility to extend to other content as is reasonable for the class/grade
  • Students in Grades 7-12 will continue to address all of the learning expectations for the classes in which they are currently enrolled
  • The province has not defined a specific number of hours per day
  • Many classroom assessments can be completed online. Those that cannot be done online may be postponed or rescheduled after May 25. We are not allowed to make appointments for exams to be written on site.

Will the schools be closed?
No – school buildings will remain open, with minimal staff.

Are ALL students required to learn from home? Are there exceptions?
There are exceptions as follows:

  • Students with identified special needs can continue to learn on-site. The families of these students will be contacted by their teachers or other school staff.
  • Early Learning Programs (Pre-Kindergarten) are expected to remain operational on site
  • Colony schools will continue with in-class learning
  • Outreach schools will remain accessible to students needing support

Will the busses continue to run?
With most students at home, transportation schedules will be altered, but students who require transportation to school for the exceptions listed above, will be transported. Each situation is unique. Either the school, the transportation department, or the drivers will contact parents. Schools will be working on the details over the next few days.

We have poor or no internet access from home. Can my children come to the school to access the internet?
No – the message we received from the province was clear on this point. If internet connectivity is an issue, schools will provide other solutions.

Will my children be able to borrow devices from the school?
Yes, most schools have a limited supply of Chromebooks that can be borrowed. There will be an agreement parents can complete online. Information in this regard will come directly from your school.

My son/daughter is in a CTS class that uses school labs. Can they come to school?
Maybe. Students who require access to labs to complete learning outcomes critical to their school completion may be allowed to come to the labs, by appointment only. Please contact your teacher if this applies to your child.

Can students continue their Work Experience / RAP / Green Certificate programs?
Yes, if the programs occur off campus and if the work location is meeting all current restrictions and guidelines.

Will the PHSD Regional Offices (including maintenance and transportation) be closed?
Regional offices will remain open with minimal staff on-site. Unless required for operational consistency and effectiveness, other staff and senior administration will work from home as per the provincial order.

Will schools who have been identified as “Outbreak” locations remain open?
The shift to at-home-learning does not affect the status of schools with multiple identified cases. But it should help to reduce the chances of additional close contacts, which in turn will help these sites return to normal status sooner.

Although this temporary shift is an interruption to learning, we hope that the time will help to resolve the many other disruptions that have occurred in the past few weeks. At one point, over 600 PHSD students and staff were quarantining as close contacts. While that number has come down this week as “lift dates” are passed, this cooling off period should help us return to learning in June. We are looking forward to a strong finish! Thanks for everyone’s help and understanding as we navigate this adjustment.