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Back online: Coping with another round of virtual learning in the Regina area

Click to play video: 'Coping with another round of virtual learning in the Regina area' Coping with another round of virtual learning in the Regina area
WATCH: With COVID variant cases on the rise in Saskatchewan, school divisions in and around Regina and in other parts of the province have moved online. – Mar 30, 2021

Amy Stoick took the week off work to help her five-year-old son with his school work.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” said the Regina area mom on Monday, her son’s first official day in a Google classroom. “We didn’t really do a whole bunch of online learning last year with him. He was in pre-K.”

Read more: Saskatchewan rural school division moving to remote learning due to COVID-19 restrictions

Stoick said Prairie Valley School Division (PVSD) prepared its families well, offering tutorials on online interfacing and providing portable devices for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them.

But PVSD only announced the move online last Wednesday and it felt sudden, she said.

Read more: COVID-19 variant spread prompts Regina school divisions to switch to online learning

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With contagious COVID variants spreading in and around Regina, school divisions in and around the city have shifted gears, as the province gave them the discretion to do last fall.

Mike Walter, the deputy director of education for PVSD, said he recognizes the pressures people are facing given the changing circumstances.

“We believe that moves like this save lives and that is what this is ultimately all about,” he told Global News. “It’s frustrating for all of us involved in this. It’s been a year.

“We’re going to get out of this. We have to endure a bit more short-term pain here to get to the point where this virus isn’t spreading like it is right now.”

Click to play video: 'Parent raises concerns about Regina schools’ temporary switch to online learning' Parent raises concerns about Regina schools’ temporary switch to online learning
Parent raises concerns about Regina schools’ temporary switch to online learning – Mar 21, 2021

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president Patrick Maze said that affected members are somewhat prepared to move online again. Many have been navigating in-class and online scenarios for months, he added.

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“But at the same time, it’s an incredible transition and definitely is a disruption, again, to the school year,” Maze said. “Teachers have been responding remarkably, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less stressful.”

It’s not just teachers and students who are impacted. Psychiatrist Tamara Hinz noted that those around them are likely finding themselves in flux as well.

Read more: Families worry kids will fall behind in school due to online challenges

“Obviously, we all want to do our part to keep COVID transmission low, but it’s a very stressful thing if you are a family with school-aged children,” she said.

School provides routine, Hinz said, and although that can’t be replicated in the same way at home, incorporating elements of structure will help households navigate this latest disruption together.

“If families can do that in a way that makes sense for how their home runs, I think they’ll be much further ahead,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Regina woman collecting laptops, tablets for kids who need them for online learning' Regina woman collecting laptops, tablets for kids who need them for online learning
Regina woman collecting laptops, tablets for kids who need them for online learning – Dec 15, 2020

Amy Stoick said she is grateful to have flexibility in her own job that allows her to assist her Kindergartener.

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Although the school division has communicated that online learning will be in place at least until after the Easter break, Stoick said she wouldn’t be surprised if it lasted longer and is trying to find the silver lining.

She said the pandemic, in many ways, has brought her household closer and that this new hurdle “gives the kids a really great opportunity to learn more about themselves and their families.”

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