• Denise Bjorkman

Update #2 SPERD At Home Learning Q&A

On November 24th, the Government of Alberta declared a Public Health Emergency and a series of enhanced restrictions that have impacted our schools.


On November 25, we released an Update on Gr. 7-12 At-Home Learning and K-6 Learning.


Please see the following in relation to some further questions you may have.


1. Can parents of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students opt for at-home learning during the period that Grade 7-12 students have been moved to at-home online learning?

  • Kindergarten to Grade six students who are currently enrolled in schools are to continue to attend in-person learning.

  • As referenced in our Re-Entry Plan (pg. 15), given that school schedules and teacher timetables may be difficult to coordinate we ask that one month’s notice be given in order to switch between remote (St. Paul Education At-Home Learning Program) and in-person learning.

  • If you have specific hardships that impact continued attendance, please contact your school principal for guidance.

2. What if my child is struggling to meet all the Grade 7-12 at-home learning expectations as outlined by the school division? For example, internet connection or access issues, too much of a time commitment, my child is becoming overwhelmed in this at-home learning environment, etc..


Please understand we recognize that having your children on-line all day can be very demanding. That said, we remain dedicated to offering a comprehensive education for your child. This is why we are offering the full schedule, live streamed or recorded, for the next three weeks and the first week after the Christmas break.

Out of respect for each individual family’s circumstances, our commitment as a division is to work with you and provide modifications (technical support, lighten the load, etc.) as required. If you have concerns with your child’s workload and/or ability to complete the work required, please contact your school administration to discuss options.

For example,

  • If your child is struggling with the overall course load, call the school to have your child excused from a non-core subject for all or part of the upcoming weeks. This will be recorded as an excused absence and you will not receive a daily call from the school about your child’s attendance.

  • If your child is struggling with demands in a core subject, it may be possible to discuss options for lightening the workload.

  • If your child is struggling due to internet connection or access issues, paper and pencil delivery or a USB stick with pre-recorded lessons may be alternate options.

Please be aware that it is not possible to completely opt out of learning over the upcoming weeks without serious impacts to your child’s grades and overall education. Teachers in many courses will continue to assign work that will be graded.

3. What are the options for my child with exceptional needs and/or students in Outreach programs as Grade 7-12 students shift to at-home learning?

  • All students with disabilities who require support and services and students in outreach programs can continue in-person learning full or part-time at school if it is in the best interest of the child.

  • Parents should contact the Coordinator of Student Supports or school principal to discuss appropriate programming arrangements.

4. Will there still be Diploma Exams for the remainder of the year?

  • The official statement from the Ministry of Education is as follows:

Diploma exams are optional for the rest of the school year. Students and their families can choose whether to write an exam or receive an exemption for the January, April, June and August 2021 exams.


5. Why do the Grade 7-12 students need to learn from home, and not Kindergarten through Grade 6?

  • This restriction is intended to have an impact on the rapid rise in transmission rates.

  • The government’s decision is based on the evidence and data about which groups impact the number of positive COVID-19 cases.

  • The medical advice that informed the decision considered the mental, physical, and academic well-being of the students and families.

  • The experience of at-home learning last spring showed that keeping K-6 students at home resulted in a variety of consequences to learning and family life. These effects had less impact with older students.

  • They noted that the frequency of cases in schools is significantly higher for grade 7-12 students.

6. How will education be delivered to my K-6 child the week after Christmas break?

As mandated by Alberta Government, Grades K-6 students

  • Continue in-person learning to Dec 18

  • Winter/Christmas break Dec 21 to Jan 3

  • Move to at-home learning for the week of Jan 4 to Jan 8

  • Resume in-person classes Jan 11

Next week we will provide specific information about what education will look like K-6 students.

7. Will busing pick-up and drop-off times change because Grade 7-12 students will not be riding?


Pick-up and drop-off times for St. Paul Education rural buses may change slightly. Your bus driver will contact you with these changes.


Sincerely,

Glen Brodziak

Superintendent of Schools

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