P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch unsure when classes will begin if held virtually

·2 min read
P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch unsure when classes will begin if held virtually

The director of Prince Edward Island's Public Schools Branch is unsure when classes will resume from the holidays if schooling switches to fully remote learning.

Following 31 new COVID-19 cases announced on P.E.I. on Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced new restriction measures.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced Friday that schools scheduled to resume on Jan. 4 would likely resume after Jan. 8.

Norbert Carpenter, the director of the Public Schools Branch, told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin that although the premier implied schools may switch to remote learning, there has been no decision.

"I know the premier alluded to it, but we don't have the definitive answer yet that we are moving to online learning that week."

If schools are required to switch to fully remote learning, teachers will need extra time to prepare, said Carpenter.

"We do want our staff to go away and enjoy Christmas, a very well-deserved break after a very challenging fall," Carpenter said.

Time needed to set up

Fully remote learning involves classes that are recorded or done live. Teachers would need at least "two days" from the resumption date to prepare virtual classes, Carpenter said.

"Teachers do need the time after their holidays to make sure everything's organized and all the kinks are worked out so that we can hit the ground running," he said.

"In fairness to our staff, they have to be able to make sure everything is going to work properly and all the logistical components are worked out."

The last time all schools on P.E.I. moved to strictly remote learning was at the start of pandemic restrictions in March 2020. In-person learning resumed for public schools at the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Since then, several schools have individually offered online classes for a brief periods as a safety precaution following COVID-19 outbreaks.

As for HEPA filters installed in classrooms, Carpenter said the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning hopes to have them installed soon, although there is no firm date.

He called it a priority.

"I believe the installation of those is imminent, meaning that they're making sure that procurements are there and they're able to get them in a timely manner."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting