Listen Live
HomeNewsCOVID-19Public school division gauging fall return numbers

Public school division gauging fall return numbers

Students returning to school this fall may find themselves restricted to a single classroom, as part of the Grande Prairie Public School Division’s plan for the upcoming year. Superintendent of Schools Sandy McDonald says the “comprehensive” plan was built around keeping students and staff as safe and sanitary as possible.

“They focussed on the day-to-day operations [at] school, they focussed on curriculum and what student learning would look like under each of the three scenarios, and they looked at the wellbeing of staff and students in our school communities.”

Alongside its fellow school boards, the GPPSD is preparing to relaunch using what the provincial government is referring to as Scenario 1, which details a near-normal reopening of educational facilities with additional health and safety measures in place. McDonald says a document will also be released to parents and students detailing what learning practices will look like should a parent decide to withhold their child from returning to class and have them learn from home instead.

He adds the remote learning option will be vastly different from what was offered in the spring when school facilities were initially closed due to COVID-19 concerns.

- Advertisement -

“It will be much more comprehensive, it will be a full school day, it will be scheduled and students will get the opportunity to have access to the full curriculum,” says McDonald. “We know some parents are interested in having their children learn from home, so we want to tell them what that will look like and then we want to be able to identify how many students will be in that position.”

Schedules, staff distribution, and class sizes will vary from school to school and will be designed around how many students will be in class versus how many will be learning remotely.

Alongside the remote learning document, a short survey is being released to parents and students to confirm their desired learning method. McDonald says the school division is asking for these surveys to be filled by August 16th in order to give them enough time to adequately plan for attendance numbers.

For students who will be returning to in-class learning, some of the options being tossed around include keeping classes as grouped together as possible. One suggestion is instead of having various classes on a by-subject basis, students could be placed into learning groups that would circulate as units throughout the day. To reduce hallway traffic, teachers and staff would be the only ones moving about through the halls between classrooms instead of crowds of students.

As mandated by the province, masks will be made mandatory to be worn by students in grades 4 to 12, and highly encouraged in the younger grades. McDonald says he is confident that students will adhere to the mandate to wear masks during school hours.

“We have a huge amount of faith and belief in the capacity of our students to astonish us,” he notes. “We’re recommending that masks be an accessory that’s worn throughout the day,” he adds. “If we have students or parents who object or who demonstrate challenges with the practice, we’ll sit and we’ll talk and we’ll listen and we’ll share and we’ll find a solution to the problem.”

Additionally, students will be, as often as possible, arranged in desk rows so they are at the very least also not face-to-face.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading