The education situation

Out front of Hughenden Public School’s main entrance, those who don’t take the bus can pick up and drop off any school work that cannot be completed online. Students on bus routes are having their envelopes delivered and picked up by the school’s bus contractors. ECA Review/Submitted

Everyone knew how school worked before COVID-19 but some people may be wondering: what about during?

In the Buffalo Trail Public Schools, there is still school work to be done, but it is all at home and most of it is online.

Once a week, school bus drivers drop off school paperwork at a drop-off point for the students who ride that bus.

For kids that don’t ride the bus, they have other arranged pickups.

Online school work is a different story.

The main platform that Hughenden Public School teachers have opted to use is called Hapara Workspaces.

In Hapara, there are different columns for different types of information, resources and assigned work.

Certain teachers have their classes set up differently.

In the Grade 9 class, the only courses that are being made available in this way are Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies.

Different grades may have some different classes, but Alberta Education has set forth guidelines about the focus of any work teachers assign during school closures.

The same goes for amounts of school work.

Elementary classes are supposed to have up to five hours of school work per week, junior high classes have up to 10 hours of school work per week, and senior high classes have up to three hours of school work per course per week.

Some of the school work can be completed in the student’s own time, but most assignments still have due dates.

There may not be PATs anymore for Grades 6 and 9, and diploma exams for Grade 12 have also been cancelled by Alberta Education, but all school work has to be in before the original end of the school year in June, so that teachers can report on student progress.

Some difficulties students are encountering are accessing individual time with their teachers.

“I personally like online schooling,” said Grade 9 student, Lyndon Day, “because I can learn at my own pace, but it can be more difficult getting one-on-one help.”

Some students are finding this new environment a better fit for them.

“Honestly, I like it better,” said Grade 9 student Mason Nickerson. “It gives me a chance to learn at my own pace and I can get the work done in two hours instead of a full school day.”

The new system still has some flaws but is working so far.

Some are saying that this may be the new future of school because it would be more cost-efficient but most students have expressed their hope that this doesn’t happen because it would deny the in-person socialization that is important to all people. 

But for now, it is how school is working, at home and online to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 

by Ashton Penman

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