Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools Board Chair Michael Ouellette says families throughout the district will be impacted by the switch to online learning for all grades. However, he believes it was a necessary move.
“The schools were running out of staff, we were running out of teachers, subs, support staff, everyone,” Ouellette says. “We were losing way too many, and it was amazing the numbers coming in.”
He says the district was in a good position to make the switch, as Grade 7-12 students were mandated to at-home learning last week.
“We were already fired up for this, and now they’ve just expanded it to the elementary grades,” he adds.
Ouellette admits however that the change won’t be easy for many families across the region, especially when it comes to ensuring younger students stay active in school.
“There are families that aren’t home, and can’t be home, they have to go to work… and that’s most families,” he says.
With the at-home learning mandate set to expire on May 25th, Ouellette says the question will then turn to if those students should return to classrooms before the end of the school year. He says at this point, it’s anyone’s guess, but that discussion will need to begin sooner rather than later.
“I personally think they are going to bring them back, is the right decision? I guess we will have to wait and see.”
The move to online education was part of a new slate of COVID-19 restrictions announced by Premier Jason Kenney on Tuesday.