With coronavirus cases climbing in Regina, the city’s school boards’ decision to move their students online around the Christmas break is prompting mixed emotions in some families.
Miranda Klinger, whose four children attend St. Jerome’s School, is relieved they’ll have reduced risk of exposure, but also a little intimidated by the task ahead.
Her children are in grades 2, 4, 5 and 8 — and as she works from home, she’ll essentially be overseeing all of them navigating their various lessons.
“Tech, yes. Time will be to be determined,” Klinger said. Ultimately, she thinks it’s “a step in the right direction.”
While St. Jerome’s has yet to have a positive case, Klinger said her family has been “always kind of wondering, when is it going to hit for us?”
St. Jerome’s falls under the Regina Catholic School Division, which announced Tuesday morning that its students will be learning remotely as of Dec. 14 until the Christmas break and then staying online afterward until at least Jan. 8.
The online learning pivot comes on the heels of Regina Public Schools’ very similar decision released Monday.
Due to the pandemic, some families never sent their children back to the brick-and-mortar classroom. Others attempted it and then backtracked.
Annabel Bast, a Grade 7 student at École St. Angela Merici, was attending in-person up until last week. She and her mother made the decision to switch to remote learning last week.
‘That ’90s Show’ trailer: Watch Red and Kitty Forman reopen their basement
New kids dental benefit now open to some Canadians. Here’s what to know
“I think that it was the right thing to do because as the numbers got higher … it was more dangerous to go to school,” she said.
“As the numbers were getting into the 200s a day, it was just time,” added her mother, Shannon Orell-Bast.
Orell-Bast is in support of school divisions moving students online given the surge in active coronavirus cases,but says she wishes there was more consistent top-down leadership, including from government.
As it stands, individual school divisions have the discretion to determine whether their students will be learning in class or online.
Saskatchewan NDP education critic Carla Beck challenged Education Minister Dustin Duncan to ensure schools and school divisions have the resources to open safely in the new year.
“The minister says that he has the best plan in the country, but folks on the ground… teachers, the admin staff and school boards, they know that that is simply not the case,” Beck said in the legislature Tuesday afternoon.
Duncan said he has talked with “several school board chairs” and with the school board association.
“I think that they have certainly appreciated the funding that has been provided by this provincial government,” he said. “And the discretion of school dvisions to make the decisions that are best for their schools.”