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COVID-19: Haida Gwaii School District busy with plans to keep kids learning

District educational staff will take survey responses from parents, guardians into account

Haida Gwaii School District No. 50 staff are busy planning how to best support students working from home while in-class learning is suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Superintendent Carey Stewart said district educational staff are using the week to review survey responses submitted by parents and guardians, and plan learning opportunities for what remains of the second semester.

“Further information regarding the continuity of learning for our students, or what school will look like, will be communicated to parents/guardians after spring break,” Stewart said in a letter to parents and guardians, dated March 24.

“There is no question that our staff is working hard to minimize the impacts of this ongoing crisis on our students, our staff, and our entire school community.”

ALSO READ: B.C. schools Zoom to online education amid COVID-19

Skidegate Volunteer Fire Department safety officer Carrie Marshall told the Observer she completed the SD 50 feedback form, which included questions about how many devices children have access to for schoolwork, whether or not caregivers work in an essential service occupation, and how much time per day they feel comfortable supporting their children with schoolwork.

The form also included questions about the need for food provision, child care and counselling or support services via phone or video.

As a first responder along with her husband Kyle, who is the fire chief, Marshall said she landed on the lower end of the scale when it came to how much time she can put into helping her two children, Grade 11 student Landon and Grade 10 student Riley, with their studies.

“Realistically, since we’re on the front-lines, we knew we could do only one to two hours,” she said. “Especially since we have only one [home] computer.”

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Marshall did not take this lightly, especially because she thinks for older kids, the suspension of in-class learning will have more of an impact.

“He needs to be taking these classes right now,” she said of her eldest son, Landon, adding that he had already started touring university campuses.

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“What we would like to see happen and what we asked for so that they don’t get behind … is something online that they can be working on.”

She noted that the district has created online accounts for students on Moodle, a free, open-source learning management system.

A BC Confederation Of Parent Advisory Councils email has also directed parents, guardians and caregivers to Keep Learning BC. The website, launched by the B.C. Ministry of Education, includes educational activities as well as links to free learning resources and supports.

ALSO READ: Here’s how to talk to your kids about COVID-19

In-class instruction at all B.C. schools was suspended by the provincial government on March 17 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

It is up to local boards of education and independent school authorities to determine hours of operation for and access to school offices, and teachers and schools have primary responsibility for continuous learning.

The will be updating any announcements from SD 50.