Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) communications coordinator Vince Burke answered some questions parents are asking about how schooling will continue from home.
Q: Will schools be closed the remainder of the year, until September?
A: As we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WCPS, the same as school divisions across Alberta, are proceeding by the direction of Alberta Education and Alberta’s Medical Officer of Health. On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Alberta Government ordered the immediate cancellation of all Kindergarten to Grade 12 in-school classes in the province, to limit the spread of COVID-19. On March 20, 2020, Alberta Education released new guidelines to direct how students will learn while in-school classes are cancelled due to the provincial health emergency. Student learning is continuing. Within Wolf Creek we have set up an online environment of resources that our teachers are accessing and using to determine how best to support at-home student learning. This could include online learning tools or other forms of delivering content and resources.
Q: Should parents have started homeschooling already?
Over the past two weeks, division and local school administrations and staff have been working to put the resources in place to deliver continued learning to students through the COVID-19 pandemic. Within Wolf Creek, teachers of pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 students will provide direction to students and parents around offering at-home learning, either through online means or through other accommodations, such as course packages, web based connections and telephone check-ins. Schools will be communicating those details to families during the week of March 30 to April 3.
Teachers will be responsible for assessing a student’s progress as it unfolds in individual circumstances. At the end of June, students will be assigned a final grade. Wolf Creek school administrators and teachers will continue to ensure parents are consulted and kept informed of how assessment will be determined in this unique circumstance.
Q: How much home study time is recommended?
A: Alberta Education has released guidelines for instruction through continued learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Those details and how they are utilized in WCPS are available at: https://www.wolfcreek.ab.ca/covid-19-faqs-for-families-and-staff/continuing-student-learning.
Wolf Creek Public Schools teachers will be coordinating lessons and assignments in alignment with these guidelines.
Q: Does having parents pick up school items mean school will not be returning?
A: We know there are many items that students have at schools that they may have needed or wanted to have at home during this period. Picking up personal items from school was not mandatory, but did allow families the opportunity to have those personal items. In-school classes are currently cancelled, but lessons and learning will continue. WCPS will continue to follow the direction of Alberta Education and Alberta’s Medical Officer of Health in this regard.
Q: Should parents be buying a Chrome book if they don’t have one for in-home learning?
A: We know that Internet access and device access does present some challenges in parts of the division, and for some families. We anticipated some of those challenges in our communication and contacted families in recent communications to determine what support might be necessary to plan for in this regard. We continue to work with families to help meet those challenges. Our Technology Services Department is working with school leaders to continue to determine the level of need that exists with specific schools and families in the Division. In some unique circumstances accommodations will be necessary to provide students with paper-based access to resources as determined by the school principal at each school.