Sask. teacher concerned about gaps in learning come fall semester

Saskatchewan students will be advancing to the next grade regardless of their current average. One teacher in the province says that could potentially set some students back. 

The provincial government closed schools in March due to COVID-19. Students were given their final grades based on what they had done so far this school year, but some could sign up for extra learning online. 

Shayna Zubko has been teaching through Google Classroom since March. The Esterhazy High School teacher said she initially had about 40 per cent of her students tuning in online, but that number has been decreasing as the weather gets warmer. 

"I can't really blame students for wanting to just be outside and be present in the weather and things like that," Zubko told CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition. "Because it's been challenging and it's hard to make things engaging and interesting online."

Zubko said many of the students who choose to take part in online classes are already more academically inclined and may not need the extra teaching as much. Teachers also need to hand out less material per week than what they could do in a classroom setting, she said. 

"That is definitely a worry," she said. "We're going to have gaps no matter what." 

Zubko said there are going to be challenges in the fall around filling in students on what they've missed, reviewing material and covering more ground. 

"It kind of creates a lot of anxiety," She said. "We have no idea what it's going to look like."

Zubko said students may also need more mental health support in the fall, given that anxiety levels were rising in schools before the pandemic hit. 

"Now after this, I can just anticipate it being that much worse," Zubko said.