Students in the Prince Albert Roman Catholic School Division officially returned to learning in a new way beginning on Monday, April 20 and according to St. Mary High School Principal Mark Phaneuf getting engaged with the school community again was a great thing.
“Just because we are physically distanced in this situation doesn’t mean any of us want to be socially distanced. We all got into this profession to be with people and engage with people as we do our part with physical distancing. I think it was just very good for everyone to get together again even in this different way,” Phaneuf said.
Phaneuf explained that the first week went off without a hitch and students were ready to engage in learning. There were a majority of students who were registered ready to go when the day would normally start at 9 a.m.
“It was nice to see it start off with very few problems whatsoever.”
Phaneuf did not have an exact number of engaged students because the situation remains relatively fluid.
“There may be some kids that aren’t engaged right now but can engage in the next week or two due to maybe relocation or maybe the kids or maybe family members are sick or they had to take on more employment. There is really a myriad of reasons why kids are engaging at different points along the continuum. We did have a real nice number of kids involved,” Phaneuf said.
The division began contacting students before the Easter Break but Phaneuf believes the entire planning process helped teachers and students to look at things differently.
“Even moving forward within the next short little while here we are going to be doing online registration for our school division which means we will be able to schedule and all of those kinds of things. So people are able to engage online whether it be through the school or through registration,” he said.
Phaneuf said every school in the division will have their information for online registration on the division’s website at a later date.
“We want to be able to support those students in that way. We look to support students that need to be engaged in a different manner,” Phaneuf said.
Phaneuf believes that education is about connecting with people not disconnecting.
“The relationships are what we build throughout the school day in a normal school day, or what we would previously call a school day — and we are just finding it very nice to continue to build these relationships and have some at a bit of a distance at this point physically,” Phaneuf said.