Nfld. & Labrador

All public high school, intermediate exams cancelled in N.L., but virtual learning to continue

Education Minister Brian Warr made the announcement at Thursday's government daily briefing, but says virtual learning will continue.

Virtual learning will continue, says education minister

All exams for this year have been cancelled. (Amanda Ray/Yakima Herald-Republic via The Associated Press)

All public high school and intermediate exams for the English and francophone school districts in Newfoundland and Labrador are cancelled for this year.

Education Minister Brian Warr announced the decision at Thursday's daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The cancellation of exams does not mean that learning is ending or the school year is over," said Warr.

Students will be given a grade to reflect their work to March 13, the final day of classes before schools were closed because of the pandemic. Students will get this mark by April 22. 

However, the school district said those grades can be adjusted to improve a current mark. Teachers will have the ability to work with students to achieve their academic goals.

"We will let teachers use their professional judgment to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning," said Tony Stack, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English District School District.

Online learning

Teachers are being asked to check in with students on a weekly basis, but during Thursday's briefing the minister said education and instruction will move online and will see teachers connect through Google Classroom and Google Meet, but the exact details are still being worked out.

The head of the school district said a small amount of the student population does not have access to online instruction, so schools are doing inventory of their laptops and will be sending those to students in need. 

As for the issue of connectivity, the NLESD is hoping to talk with some of the service providers.

"We will look at some creative solutions," said Stack. "This is going to take some time."

During the briefing, the minister said, "No one student will be disadvantaged here because of connectivity."

Guidance counsellors and education psychologists are also still available to students via online access.

The NLESD said it is in talks with Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, "with regards to flexibility around entrance requirements." 

NLTA on board

The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association is praising the plans.

"There has been a collaborative and consultative process since the beginning," said Dean Ingram, president of the NLTA. "I have all the confidence this will be used to ensure that students receive a continuity of learning."

Ingram said during these times it is not business as usual, but teachers are doing their best to support students across the province.

"Teachers will exercise their professional judgment, their expertise in the way that works best. They are professionals and teachers will find a way," he said.

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With files from Meg Roberts