---Better way to stay in school as COVID-19 persists
This is “Stay in school week” for local school boards. It is the dead of winter and has always been the time of year when students get discouraged. In pre-COVID times, green ribbons would be worn around town this week.
With COVID, the whole business of staying dedicated to academic goals has become even more conceptual than ever. For someone who is eight years old, the pandemic has now gone on for one-eighth of her or his life. For a teen with the unending confinement, not seeing friends seems to have lasted a hundred years – what use is getting good grades or learning algebra?
Well, parents, grandparents and teachers have plenty to say to unmotivated students. And, as much as it is hard to motivate kids, they aren’t entirely wrong. School has never been a one-size-fits-all learning environment. While schools do a pretty good job of offering a variety of learning methods to students with different ways of learning, there is a new situation with COVID-19 that has some families scratching their heads.
An entire protocol has been established for remote learning. Computers were lent out to those who needed them and, for families who ended up with kids in remote learning, routines were established. The Premier insists that in-class learning is the best and only way to properly teach. Education is a right, and a responsibility that the CAQ (current governing party) takes very seriously. And so, remote learning is reserved for students in Secondary 3 and higher. For high-school-age kids, remote learning is happening on alternating days, with some in-class days as well. For CEGEP and university, it is entirely remote learning.
During the hard lock-down on either side of the Christmas holiday, younger students also had a taste of remote learning. For some, this worked very well. Other families felt a sense of chaos juggling working from home and playing teacher, which was more like learning enforcer for many. This is true with students who are still remote learning on alternating days.
But, for some students and their families, remote learning works very well. The purpose of having kids study from home is to make space in schools for those who really need to be there in person. Reducing in-person learning makes schools a more COVID-safe place.
And with the virus active in Aylmer, there is a constant rotation of students who must isolate for days at a time while test results come in, or longer if a household bubble has had exposure.
But, to date, there is no protocol for teachers to be both in class, and to have the course available to students who are studying from home – with some exceptions. There has to be a better way, which should provide families with options to have remote learning more present in their lives, leaving space for in-class learning for families who really need it. This kind of change would be very encouraging.