BOW VALLEY – The provincial government has announced its education plan to address the fact students in Alberta have had classes cancelled as a precaution against COVID-19 coronavirus.
Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange said Friday (March 20) the government would offer at-home learning opportunities in the form of online learning, course packages, and telephone check-ins.
“I want to thank every Albertan involved in our province’s education system," LaGrange said in a press release.
"Everyone has come together to chart a path forward as part of our COVID-19 response – teachers, support staff, superintendents, administrators, elected trustees, parents, education associations, the provincial government and many others.
"It is important that Albertans know that we are all working towards the same goal – to provide the best possible learning situation for our students during this very challenging and unprecedented time.”
The new system will include all public, separate, Francophone, charter and independent school, as well as Indigenous students attending provincial schools. Teachers will be tasked with creating new lesson plans based on what was left in the school year's curriculum and what would be manageable for students working at home.
The learning tools have been broken up into grade groups; kindergarten-Grade 3, grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.
Kindergarten-Grade 3 will see content focusing on language/literacy and mathematics/numeracy.
Students will have an average of five hours of work per week and teachers will also work with parents on the delivery of the course material.
Grades 4-6 will continues focusing on the same things with an opportunity to incorporate science and social studies with the same amount of hours, while grades 7-9 will focus on core mathematics, language/literacy, science and social studies with an average of 10 hours of school work per week per student.
Grades 10-12 will focus on specified and core courses with three hours of work assigned per course. Content will focus on those courses required for graduation.
In an emailed statement, Canadian Rockies Public School division superintendent, Chris MacPhee, said the board is in agreement with how the government is handling education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Superintendent MacPhee is in agreement with Minister LaGrange in her March 20, 2020 news release stating that we are all working towards the same goal – to provide the best possible learning situation for our students during this very challenging and unprecedented time,” the statement said.
“Canadian Rockies School Division appreciates the clarity and continuity it will provide for our teaching staff. We have some of the finest teaching staff in this country who will work diligently to assist our students in their educational pursuits during these challenging times.”
The provincial government said students will receive report cards and parents will be kept informed as to how these assessments are made. In addition, students on track to graduate will still receive their diplomas.
Principals will be able to award up to 15 credits to Grade 12 students, if for example they are unable to complete work experience or career and technology studies courses, or any student's who is negatively affected by class cancellations.
At this time, all provincial assessments – Grade 5 and 9 provincial achievement tests and Grade 12 diploma exams – are cancelled.
Additional resources for parents can be found at learnalberta.ca.