Schools in the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) will take the next two weeks to plan their next steps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures. (SD61schools/Facebook)

COVID-19: Greater Victoria schools to spend next two weeks planning next steps

Vulnerable students, health and safety top priorities for school district, teachers’ association

Schools in the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) will take the two weeks after spring break for staff to plan the next steps as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps facilities closed across the region.

On March 17 – while most students were on spring break – the provincial government suspended K-12 classes indefinitely to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Students would have returned to school from spring break on March 30. Instead, staff will use the next 14 days to plan at-home education plans. The Greater Victoria Teacher’s Association (GVTA) is managing priorities day by day, says president Winona Waldron. She said currently, there is no standard for how at-home teaching will look – it will vary based on teacher and student needs.

“This isn’t going to look like learning as usual or getting through the curriculum,” she said. “Technology will look so different depending on how the teachers teach in their classroom, what kind of technology they have or what they usually use in their classroom.”

Winona Waldron, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says in light of the COVID-19 crisis, top priorities include health and safety and protecting vulnerable students. (Facebook/Winona Waldron)

READ ALSO: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19

“It’s not just up to the teacher but up to what families need,” she added. “It’s not just a matter of moving things online for instance cause there’s no guarantee a family has technology in their home or access to the internet or they might have multiple children and one computer.”

One of Waldron’s biggest concerns with schools closed, is the loss of non-academic supports, like hot lunch and breakfast programs that many students rely on for their meals.

She said the GVTA is talking with SD61 about a plan to address those needs.

“So those [issues] are sort of taking the forefront as opposed to, how do we deliver the curriculum,” she said.

Waldron said one silver lining amid the uncertainty is the cooperation between teachers, families and school districts to address the issues caused by the virus.

“It’s quite heartening to see everybody come together … I think right now, it really has to be about being calm and thinking about, ‘OK what is the next important thing?’ We don’t need to get all the answers yet.”

On Thursday, the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) released a statement about the future for students, staff and families, writing that its guiding principles include health and safety, services for children of essential workers, support for vulnerable students and lastly, the continuity of education for all students.

For now, the health and safety of teachers and students is a top priority. Many staff and students have laptops, books, learning materials and personal items they might need to pick up from closed facilities. Principals and vice-principals will be in touch with families on how and when they can pick up items and clean out their desks or lockers.

The district echoed direction from the Ministry of Education for a careful and sustainable planning and said schools will spend the first two weeks back from spring break planning their next steps.

For now, general learning activities are available online at sd61.bc.ca. Programs focus on mental health and well-being, literacy, numeracy, physical health and passion projects.

READ ALSO: B.C. Teachers’ Federation says teachers will return to work after spring break



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read