More than 3,000 high school students on P.E.I. prepare for online learning
Some concerned education won't be at same level as in-class instruction
Some high school students on P.E.I. are concerned they won't be getting the same level of education when classes move online Tuesday.
Four high schools in the Charlottetown area were ordered closed to students by the Chief Public Health Office after a cluster of COVID-19 cases was reported on the weekend.
Rafe Hambly, a Grade 12 student at Charlottetown Rural, is one of 3,078 students who'll be learning from home for at least the next two weeks.
"I definitely think that we're going to be suffering some setbacks," he said.
"I don't think we'll be able to accomplish as much as we did or would be able to do in the classroom but I do think we'll be able to get enough of the curriculum covered that we will be in good standing going into the second semester and going into the exam season."
The province is handing out Chromebooks to any student who needs one to connect from home — about 265 so far.
Education Minister Brad Trivers said the high schools were closed to make it easier for contact tracing should a student test positive.
"High schools were a problem because there you have multiple cohorts coming together into a classroom where sometimes they couldn't physically distance."
Trivers said because the outbreak appears to be just in the Charlottetown area, shutting down all schools wasn't necessary at this time.
In an email to CBC, the Department of Education said its teachers will not be doing a roll call at the beginning of a scheduled class. However, it said attendance will be monitored in ways such as:
- Using the "show everyone" tab in Google Meet.
- Engaging in a chat or communicating via email.
- Submitting an assignment or completing a task.
The department said if students do not engage in remote learning, their classroom teacher will contact home to followup. Continued disengagement will be passed on to administration.
Rosie Li, who attends Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown, said she is concerned about getting help quickly if she has a problem.
"It's pretty disappointing. [Going] to school is much more fun than study at home."
Her mother, Linda Yi, wonders whether the outbreak can be contained if students went to school.
"I worried about this if she goes to school, more students together, so I think it's danger — so maybe a little conflicted."
'We'll get through it'
While students work from home, their teachers will be working inside the schools.
Hambly and other students can get in the school Tuesday to get what they need from their lockers. Then it's school from home for the next two weeks.
"We'll get through it and I think that I'll be able to adapt to it."
The province said it will assess its plans before the break, to determine whether students will be back in class in the new year.
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With files from Wayne Thibodeau and Shane Ross