School District 91 official says teachers are looking at a combination of teaching techniques, including traditional methods via paper packages and online teaching, during the current virus pandemic.
“We can’t use a one size fits all approach,” says Mike Skinner, assistant superintendent for SD91.
Skinner said that teachers reached out to families last week to understand how they were doing, and the kind of support they needed for their children.
Internet connectivity can be a problem in rural areas like Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Burns Lake and Fraser Lake. So for students living in rural areas, online method of teaching can be a challenge, Skinner explained.
“The format (for education) is going to look different for different families. Depending on the age of the student, whether the parent is working and more. We want to adapt to what families need individually,” he said.
Meanwhile, Skinner said the pandemic has overwhelmed people in general, and the school does not want to “overload” parents.
“We have heard from parents who do not want to hear from schools more than once a week. So we have been discussing questions around how we reduce calls and not overwhelm parents.”
He said the school district is not planning on having set block times where students are mandated to go online and get onto a video conference with a teacher to be educated.
“That will be a lot of pressure. And a lot of families understand that we don’t need to finish the curriculum, it’s more about what students need, to continue their learning process.”
As the weeks go on, teachers will continue to adapt and learn more through the process, Skinner said.
Teachers in the school district came back to school after the spring-break last week and have gone through health and safety training, along with reaching out to students and understanding needs on a student-to-student basis.
There are online resources for people to access and the provincial government has set up a website called Keep Learning. This website provides suggestions for parents and caregivers to keep children learning at home during COVID-19.
Parents and caregivers can also access the School District’s website, where local officials are putting links under their Continuity of Learning banner that can provide direction.
Skinner says that out of challenges “comes a new wave of creativity.”
He said that SD91 officials are working on reuniting people to their belongings that were left behind in school and on understanding how to help vulnerable students who were dependent on food programs.
“I am very impressed with our schools and staff and a lot of good things are happening. We are already on our next steps… People are helping each other and that is great to see. So far I think we have had a good start and we will overcome challenges that come up,” the assistant superintendent said.
To give live updates from the school, follow their Facebook Page at @SD91BC.