April 1, 2020
Dear PSB Parents/Guardians and Students;
I know there are many PSB students and parents who are at home wondering about the changes to student learning over the coming weeks. There may also be increasing concerns about everyone’s mental health and well-being as we make our way through each day in this new reality. We all have questions, but are also starting to have some of the answers.
Premier Dennis King, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning Brad Trivers, and Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (DELL) Director of English Programs, Dr. Tammy Hubley-Little gave details of the educational plan for students at a public briefing yesterday afternoon. Additional information with guidelines to help frame expectations and responsibilities for home learning have also been shared with teachers.
We know that learning for students will continue even though classes are canceled until May 11. DELL staff are supporting teachers in compacting their courses and curricula. Teachers will be collaborating with each other to enable learning opportunities for students to continue. DELL staff will support teachers as they transition to leading their students’ home learning.
During the week of April 6th, home learning will transition from the DELL resources that have been provided through our website to the direction of teachers. Students who were on track and were engaged with their learning prior to the school closure, will graduate from grade 12 or progress to their next grade level. A plan will be put in place before students return to school to address any learning gaps that exist as a result of this pandemic.
We are working to ensure that programming and resources are in place that are fair and equitable for all our students. This includes consideration for families who do not have internet access or other resources. The PSB is also working with the DELL to develop a plan that will provide curricular support in a variety of ways so that access will be reasonably available to all. We have the flexibility with our education system to support students and we have a lot of qualified staff who will ensure students are not left behind. When students return to school, we will refocus our efforts so we can move all students forward in the learning journey.
Our teachers are excited to resume their efforts to assist students with their learning. Many have been or are in the process of reaching out to students to check in to see how things are going. I want to reassure you that our staff are working very hard to prepare for this new way of learning. Until this plan is fully shared with students and parents, I encourage you to continue to look at resources that have been posted on our website to support learning at home. Additionally, please consider the positive impact something as simple as integrating learning into your daily routines can be. For example, a half hour of reading a couple times a day, regular exercise, or assisting in measuring items for meal preparation. These are a few simple things that can support students with continuation of learning in a manageable way until more formal learning opportunities are implemented.
I encourage you to please refer to the Parents and Students – School Closure FAQ located at https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/education-and-lifelong-learning/parents-and-students-school-closure-faq and on our website for more information about home learning questions and resources provided for students to continue learning.
Support for Families
With classes not resuming until May 11, the absence of access to school breakfast and lunch programs may put a financial strain on families. Assistance is being provided to families dealing with food insecurity. Families are being asked to contact the Support for Families line 902-368-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and assistance. If you know of a family who could use this support, please share this information with them.
Among the best things we can all do right now is to focus on our family and being well. We have created a Student Services Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/psbstudentservices for families to access information that may be of assistance to help through this difficult and stressful time. Please refer to https://edu.princeedwardisland.ca/psb/parents_students/covid-19-resources/ for some helpful resources.
We are clearly in unprecedented times. Premier King said at yesterday’s briefing that we are in this together and assured us, ‘we will get through this together’. This is also our commitment from everyone at the PSB. We know that there will continue to be questions. We will try to ensure a timely response to the questions that come our way, and we will post our responses on our PSB website. Please check back often and we will do our best to keep you as up-to-date as possible through our weekly Wednesday messages.
Thank you for your continued support.
Director, Public School Branch