Students in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools are on spring break now, but will soon return to classes digitally.
On March 30 Sylvan Lake students in the Catholic school system will reconnect with their teachers and begin learning once again.
Like many school boards across the province, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) was put into a tough spot when classes were cancelled indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Kathleen Finnigan, interim superintendent for the school division, says moving to a digital platform was the best way to move forward with the school year while still ensuring staff and students safety.
“We aren’t seeing many alternatives [to online learning]. Using paper and books isn’t safe as the virus can be passed on through those means,” said Finnigan.
Each teacher will be moving learning to a digital platform of their choosing, though most are using Google Classroom.
For high school students in the Catholic school board, Finnigan says she is hoping to utilize the online classes already in place for RDCRS.
“There will be a learning curve for some, like the younger students, but kids today are very resilient,” Finnigan said, adding she believes the students will catch on to the new system quickly.
The most important part for staff is to reestablish a connection with students to move forward with digital learning, Finnigan says.
“It is key to set up connection first and then students will have to acclimatize to what the teacher is asking.”
Looking to the future is difficult, as new information regarding the virus comes everyday.
Finnigan says at this time she can’t say what will happen next or how things will change, and will continue to listen and follow the guides set out by the Ministry of Education and Alberta Health.
As for the graduating students, at this time grad has not been cancelled as it is still too far away.
“This is a difficult year, and grad is on the minds of our Grade 12s… We have absolutely no idea what is happening [with grad],” Finnigan said.
Staff at RDCRS are staying positive and looking at digital learning as a chance to continue educating and interacting with students.