By Heather Walters
After the Christmas school break, all students had one week of online learning. They learned last week that January learning would continue to be done from home. Provincial health guidelines have recommended that all Ontario schools remain closed until at least January 25 and students will continue education online.
Principal David Van Laecke at Lakewood Elementary School stated that prior to the Christmas break their enrolment for face-to-face learning was 516 with 45 enrolled in the virtual academy.
“The week before Christmas we did have a positive Covid-19 case,” he stated. “HNHU managed the contact tracing and resulting isolation of close contacts. This was our first case to manage and we realized that it was no longer something we read about in other communities – it was in our own community and in our own school.”
Since Christmas break, teaching and learning has taken place virtually, consistent with all schools in the province.
“A couple of the challenges have been obvious,” Mr Van Laecke stated. “First off, the timing of the announcement gave teachers little time to prepare for the change as they were on their Christmas holiday. Secondly, there were a number of families with no access to home computers or internet connectivity.”
The principal explained that “last week all families who identified technological needs were contacted and the needs were all met. Approximately 55 computer tablets from classrooms have been distributed to students along with three iPads with a data plan to serve as an internet hotspot.”
“Students and teachers interact daily with a combination of live and posted learning experiences,” said Mr Van Laecke, adding that “success in teaching and learning remotely can be successfully accomplished through a shared understanding that is a lot of work for teachers and for families as well as patience and open, yet positive, communication on everyone’s part.”
Lakewood Elementary School continues to have an Emergency Childcare program available through Today’s Family. Essential workers in need of childcare can contact them directly or visit their website.
The last opportunity for parents to change learning modes (in person or full-time virtual) closes today (January 13) at 4 pm through an online declaration available at https://Januarydeclaration.granderie.ca/.
Next Monday, January 18, is a designated PA day across the school board.
Originally published January 13, 2021