'It's a big change': How the 1st day of home learning went

Students, teachers and parents are all trying to adapt as Monday marked the first day of home learning on P.E.I.

Online courses were made available to students after a two-week hiatus because of COVID-19.  

The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning developed a home learning plan for teachers, students and parents consisting of online tools and resources such as apps and documents. 

Mary Chaisson, a mother of three whose children range from ages three to 17, said so far, she's happy with the plan. 

"It's not a heavy workload," she said.

"I think it should be doable for anyone and I think the teachers are all, like as far as our teachers go, they've all reached out." 

'It's a big change'

Chaisson said the key for her and her husband, who are both still working, is that the amount of school work remain manageable.

"Nothing needs to be done in a timely manner. So we can still do them on the weekend, if we don't have time throughout the week," she said. 

"It's an at-your-own-speed type of thing."

Submitted by Mary Chaisson

Rebecca Branton, a teacher at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown, said it was stressful trying to figure out how to teach courses she'd never taught online before. 

"Knowing that you're not going to be face-to-face with students, knowing that you're not going to have the interactions that you have with them every day," she said.

"It's a big change."

Branton said she was lucky to get some lessons and instructions online for her students and is using Google Classroom to do this.

"I've been on the computer most of the day answering email, answering messages from students, commenting on their work as they're going along and just sort of trying to help it as best as I can," she said.

"I don't know if what I'm doing is what's right … but we'll figure it out as we go."

It's not a level playing field that they would have if they were in school. — Rebecca Branton, teacher

Branton said the expectations for teachers have also changed.

"We're only expected to provide two hours of work, when we see them in class for six-plus hours."

Branton said teachers have been advised to provide feedback, but that there won't be any formal marking. 

"Not all students are in the same place at home. Whether it's access to materials, whether it's access to internet, the support that they would have to do it at home. So it's not a level playing field that they would have if they were in school," she said. 

"So we can't assess them all the same way."

P.E.I.'s Education Department said it's still working on how to best support students who don't have internet access, or those with learning disabilities. 

Schools across the province will remain closed until at least May 11. 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

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