The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division launched their remote learning option for the division’s Return to School Plan on Monday for all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
“We have been contemplating it for quite some time and really it comes down to responding to families need. So we have had conversations with parents in the past about the health and medical needs of students but even beyond that some broader needs of parents. So that was really trying to respond to the needs of parents and families,” director of education Robert Bratvold said.
This will be a way to expand options in Sask. Rivers.
“I still want to be clear that our schools are ready and able to welcome kids in safe and supportive ways and this just provides another option for those parents that need that and choose that,” he explained.
He explained that these parents have provided support, requests and suggestions about how to best meet their needs.
In their letter to parents they noted that the division has a long tradition of commitment to inclusion.
The division will continue to provide full remote learning support for students whose documented medical needs prevent them from attending school but now they will also offer online programming for students in Grade K-12 who choose that platform.
Saskatchewan Rivers has been a little more deliberate with their delivery of reopening plans.
“We have been trying to align ourselves well with the Ministry’s expectation. They have been stating it clearly about all students should be back in classroom. So we are trying to be supportive of that but we got to the point where well we want to do that and we still are aligned with the ministry directives but we are responding to local needs,” Bratvold said.
Their release explained that they recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may present significant risks for students and families and remote learning may be in the best interest of health and safety.
“We expect that the vast majority of our families will have students attending all of our local schools and there will be some doing the remote learning and we will have connections with them. It is important that they register and get that process going,” Bratvold said.
According to Bratvold parents should register with the local school to have their child anchored to stay connected.
“The link is in the letter to families, and so they follow that link, they fill out the information and then we will contact them about how the next steps will take place. The next steps will depend on the uptake, the numbers of students and their needs that they have and we will develop that based on the responses to the forms,” Bratvold said.
The form can be found in the letter or at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScfQ7MbhAwtLSuJlbG_jjVLbaRWdjwufa0h0qxJIlGqJ0ywog/viewform.
If parents cannot access the form online call the Education Centre for assistance in completing the form in other ways.
When Premier Scott Moe announced the new school start date of Tuesday, September 8 it was not a factor in the decision to launch the program.
“It will be helpful now we will have a little bit more time without students in classrooms so it will be helpful but the change in date wasn’t one of the instigating factors,” Bratvold said.
On August 26 schools in the division who have not already done so will share their school-specific plans to support mental wellness, physical health and educational learning needs of children in the division. They expect to update the division plan by Monday, August 31.
The plans will be enhanced and revised as needed and parents are reminded to stay in touch with local schools and to reach out to administration at the school level with questions.