By now most parents with kids in the Delta school district got a chance to talk on the phone with their teachers to give parents an idea where they go from here.
What’s certain, for the time being and for who knows how long, students won’t have in-class instruction, but teachers have been telling parents they’ll soon be emailing subject matters online.
A letter last week to parents from Pinewood Elementary principal James Hope, for example, it was noted teachers have begun the process of connecting with each student in their class to check on well-being, gather some information to help with planning, as well as reassure them that they are at the forefront of teachers' thoughts.
“Our next steps will be to plan for the continuation of learning experiences for students. Our goal is not to replicate the school environment at home; there are so many social, emotional, and collaborative experiences that cannot be recreated in social isolation. We intend to start slow and focus on some of the Big Ideas in the BC Curriculum. We are also going to be careful not to burden parents with the added stress of having to ‘teach’ in addition to parenting, when they are already worried about the health of their loved ones, employment stability and other factors,” he wrote.
Hope said the education programs will vary from grade-to-grade, teacher-to-teacher and school-to-school in order to best meet the needs of students, adding the relationships that the teachers have built with the students and families over the course of the year will help make the transition easier and one that is not too onerous for parents at home.
Ongoing, clear communication is part of the process, so parents have been asked to keep open lines of communication with the teachers either through email or by leaving a phone message at the school office.
Other schools have sent parents letters with a similar message.
In a letter to parents Friday, Delta district superintendent Doug Sheppard noted the focus for the coming week is on maintaining connections with students and introducing some routines to establish home learning.
“Teachers will start slow and small with one or two ‘do-able’ activities for your children to ease them into this new way of learning. They will also communicate an initial schedule for remote learning. We understand that most parents are not qualified teachers and we don’t expect you to take on this role. In addition, we can assure you that teachers are highly responsive to students’ and families’ needs,” explained Sheppard.
“They are conscious of student workload and of not adding to family stresses at this time. As a result, teachers will be reducing the content they would normally expect your children to cover and providing clear communication, supports and instructions to help children achieve success. Time on tasks and assignments will gradually increase over the coming weeks.”
At this time desks are not being cleared out.
The Ministry of Education last week announced educators will have an easy-to-use video-conferencing and collaboration platform to communicate remotely with their students called Zoom, allowing consistent access for educators who choose to use it and giving them more ways to communicate with students and parents.
The province also recently launched the Keep Learning website at https://www.openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/
Meanwhile, the province has also launched a new process to match parents who are working on the front lines of B.C.’s COVID-19 response and have children up to five years of age with child care in their communities.