Sudbury school boards adjusting to challenges of distance learning
SUDBURY -- As students continue to complete their studies online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with the Rainbow District School Board remain optimistic about the new system, while realizing some families are facing challenges.
"Many of the families, their older sibling is actually the caregiver during the day so that's very challenging for some of those families to have an older sibling do both their studies and take care of the rest of the family but for the most part we've had a pretty good uptake so we're pleased about it," said Norm Blaseg, director of education for the Rainbow District School Board.
In terms of access and devices, the board surveyed parents and students to see what was needed in order to take part in virtual learning.
"From that survey we're able to ascertain that 97 per cent or so actually had internet access so that means we only had about 300 students that we had to figure out how we were going to provide service to and so that option ended up becoming paper distribution," said Blaseg.
The survey also showed that out of the 13,000 students in the Rainbow District School Board, roughly 2,000 of them needed to get tablets and laptops from the board.
"We had about 1,500 elementary students and approximately 500 secondary students who required devices," said Blaseg.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board said that after a month of students learning from home, many teachers feel it is proving successful.
"Students are involved, they're engaged, it's all based on individual learning plan, communication with the board, with school administration to make sure that I am meeting all of my students' individual learning needs," said Nancy Bellemare-Perron, a fifth grade teacher.
Bellemare-Perron said there are actually some advantages to this temporary way of teaching.
"Students are getting a lot more one on one individualized support because I can call them and set time aside for the kids as we're learning so we are able to target their needs," she said.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced earlier this week that schools across the province will remain closed until May 31st at the earliest. The government said it will re-evaluate the situation in May, deciding if there will be any more school this year.