The first instalment of weekly activities delivered to parents for their children to work on while at home from school for the next month arrived this week. The government-driven initiative will see students of schools in the New Frontiers School Board (NFSB) receive updated grade-specific pedagogical activities provided by the Education Ministry on a weekly basis. The schools will be able to improve or add to the packages of activities. Students will not be graded on any of the material.
Teachers have already been communicating with students across a range of platforms. Several schools within the NFSB network have produced videos with clips and photos of teachers and staff reminding students that everything will be all right and that they are missed. The videos were warmly received by families on social media networks. Teachers have also been reaching out to families to check in personally with their students to see how everyone is coping with this unprecedented situation.
“Many of the teachers want to feel useful,” says NFSB director general Rob Buttars, who admits this extended break has been hard on the entire school community. A letter of commendation and encouragement was recently sent to all staff members from the Council of Commissioners, praising their ability to adapt to this sudden change in work routine and willingness to be counted on to help when requested.
“We are all wondering what is going to happen with the rest of the year,” Buttars says. “Of course, it is disappointing for our senior students,” he says, regarding prom and graduation ceremonies. “But I know our high schools, and I know they will mobilize and make something happen.”
No access to schools
The Education Ministry has officially backtracked on a promise to allow parents access to the schools to collect essential items for their children. The Ministry has now closed the schools to all parents and even staff for the month of April, at least. The only individuals permitted to enter school buildings are the principals, and even this is limited.