School divisions shifting focus to keep pace with new COVID-19 restrictions

The Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools office (Erica Fisher, MyGrandePrairieNow.com)
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Following the announcement from the Province introducing stricter COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, Grande Prairie School Divisions are making the necessary adjustments to comply with Alberta’s new health measures.

Some of these measures include suspending in-person learning for all Jr. and Sr. high school students starting Monday, November 30th until Friday, January 8th. Instead, online learning will be made available for all students.

The Grande Prairie Catholic School Division specified in a social media post, families that need additional technology to support their student will need to contact their school. Technology will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Grande Prairie Public School Division Superintendent Sandy McDonald says despite being once again removed from in-person classes, the change for students in grades 7-12 will look somewhat different from the school closure which occurred in the spring.

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“Students will be expected to continue to actively engage in learning and to participate in scheduled lessons during the day.”

“More specific details will be sent home by principals later this week, and any questions at that time can be addressed by the schools, but at this time we want our students to be aware our teachers will continue to be providing them instruction daily while they are learning from home,” he says.

There will be no schooling between December 19th and January 3rd for the scheduled Christmas break. The Catholic division has also specified it will continue to follow the regular school calendar.

All pre-kindergarten to grade 6 classes will continue in person at schools until the Catholic division Christmas break. Classes will resume online, January 4th until Friday, January 8th. Online learning for elementary students that week will focus on numeracy and literacy, and the Division says it will not be as robust as in-class education.

As was disclosed by the Province of Alberta on Tuesday, diploma exams are now optional for the remainder of the 2020/21 school year. The GPCSD says no provincial funding reductions were made, and no staffing changes reductions will be made. Staff will, however, be reallocated to support various areas of the division which are in need.

The Catholic division is also reminding both families and students to monitor for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 using the Alberta Health Screening Questionnaire on a daily basis before attending school. Officials say any more information will be released as soon as possible.

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