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St. Paul Education dealing with COVID cases heading into two-week at-home learning

Mallaig School confirms active cases of virus.
Students in Alberta will be heading home to learn for two weeks. / File photo

ST. PAUL - Four schools across St. Paul Education have current active cases that have been connected to the education facilities, including four cases at Mallaig School.

On May 6, Alberta Health Services Public Health confirmed two or more cases at the Kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Mallaig, which is located within the County of St. Paul. 

"The Medical Officers of Health has requested Alberta Health Services (AHS) Public Health staff initiate an investigation," reads a letter sent out to parents and guardians of students from École Mallaig Community School.

The investigation will determine who may have been exposed to cases of COVID-19 during the infectious period.

Other schools in the region with active cases include Ashmont School with two active cases, and FG Miller Jr./Sr. High School in Elk Point with one active case associated with the school, according to superintendent Glen Brodziak.

St. Paul Elementary also confirmed a case at the kindergarten to Grade 5 school on Thursday afternoon. 

At-home learning

As per the Government of Alberta's announcement on Tuesday, all students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will be moving to at-home learning for a two-week period, as the province grapples with increased COVID-19 cases in many parts of Alberta. In-class learning is expected to resume after the long weekend on May 25.

Information was released by St. Paul Education outlining the expectations and direction given by the Government of Alberta. 

"We acknowledge the many challenges we face in our community during these unprecedented times. The health and safety of our entire community are paramount and we wish the best for everyone. If you or your child is feeling overwhelmed or if you are experiencing any difficulties with the technology or programs being used during this learning at home period, please contact your school administration," reads information posted by St. Paul Education on Thursday.

Mental health supports will continue to be made available during at-home learning. 

"We know that parents are busy, but we would ask that you please check in with your child regularly to see how they are doing. Once again, if there are any concerns whatsoever, please let your school know."

According to St. Paul Education, Alberta Education has directed that schooling for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students should focus on literacy and numeracy.

One hour of literacy instruction per day, along with one hour of numeracy instruction will be expected during at-home learning. 

One physical activity session will also be open to all grade levels each day. One other block of alternate instruction will be offered daily, which can include science, social studies, art, music, for example.

"Each school will provide scheduling specific to their school," according to the school division.

Business as usual for Grades 7 to 12

Alberta Education has directed that schooling for Grade 7 through 12 students should be business as usual.

This means that regular student timetable and bell times will be followed exactly. 

"Regardless of subject, every teacher lesson will be synchronous and delivered ‘live.' Every subject that the student currently takes now will continue to be delivered."

Attendance will be taken in every class, as usual, according to the school division.

An At-Home Learning Code of Conduct is available from the school division and online.

Schools will remain open during normal office hours and will be available to answer questions. 

"In order to control the spread of COVID-19, outside doors will remain locked. Should you need to come to the school for any reason please call ahead and make an appointment."

May 21 is a PD day across the school division and no instruction will take place. 

Final exams

Final exams in June are expected to take place as usual for high school students in Grades 10 to 12. Students will only be tested "on the material covered in this school year or term."

Schools can also possibly incorporate a final project rather than final exam.

For junior high students, schools will be given the option if they will proceed with final exams or not, and if schools choose to administer a final exam, the maximum weighting will be 10 per cent.

"If schools choose to administer a final exam, it will be an open-book exam where students can bring in their textbooks, notes, etc.," according to the St. Paul area school division. A final project can be incorporated instead of a final exam.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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