Impacts of COVID-19 lead Regina schools to remote learning and temporary closure

The Board of Education of the Regina School Division sent a letter earlier today to parents informing them about the temporary move to remote learning for students, a change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glennys Chow, mother of two Regina students, has to go in to work and cannot be at home with her kids.

Chow, however, believes her children, aged 12 and 16, are well equipped for remote learning and do not require parental supervision.

Regina Public Schools sent a letter to parents stating the temporary move to remote learning. Dr. A.E. Perry will be one of the many schools closed starting Dec. 14. Photo by Rachel Sloane.

“My kids are old enough,” said Chow. “We have the resources [so] they can be self-sufficient.

“I’m just worried about my high school child and how her finals are going to work for this Quint [section of the school year].”

Effective Dec. 14, all Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in all elementary and high school classes will move from in-class learning to remote learning, according to the letter.

The remote learning period will last until Jan. 11, when students tentatively can go back to school.

Regina Public Schools made this decision as “a proactive intervention to ensure safe continued learning for students, for the health of all student and employee families, and for the ongoing business continuity of the School Division and its schools.”

The letter also shows how, as of Dec. 7, the Regina Public Schools have seen:

  • 63 students and 26 staff COVID-19 positive cases.
  • 39 (of 57) schools affected.
  • 56 classrooms closed.
  • 8 elementary schools closed, 1 collegiate closed.
  • More than 8,422 employee absence days sue to quarantine leave.
  • Chronic shortfall of replacement staff due to more employee absences and reduced pool of available substitute staff.
  • Growing anxiety and other mental health challenges to all employees and students.

“By reducing the number of people in all schools and buildings and allowing for more physical distancing, the fear and anxiety of becoming exposed to COVID-19 at work may be minimized,” said the Regina School Division in its letter.

The benefits of moving to remote learning are listed as follows:

  • Teacher and all employees can continue to teach and work without disruption. Currently, the impact of one school – based student or staff member diagnosed with COVID-19 can affect multiple people in a school. This proactive intervention can help ensure that a single case will not disrupt and affect the learning and working of many others.
  • Students can learn from home, without the fear of exposure to COVID-19 at school, or of exposing others.
  • High school students can complete Quint 2 and be ready for Quint 3 in January.
  • As a measured action to reduce in-school risk, this proactive intervention may allow all schools and buildings to reopen and in-class learning to resume on Jan. 11.
  • Attempt to reduce possibility of a long-term School Division-wide move to Level 4 described in COVID-19 Response Plan.
  • The School Division will continue to provide supports for vulnerable students, such as community food programs and the provision of devices for students that need them to learn remotely.

This past week, the Saskatchewan Health Authority has confirmed individual cases at Thom Collegiate, Balfour Collegiate, Winston Knoll Collegiate and Dr. A. E. Perry School. All these schools are now using online learning.

All students and staff in close contact with the cases have been contacted and were provided information about self-isolation.

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