Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district considers COVID-19 lessons in planning for fall

Elementary, secondary school committees formed to plan for next school year

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district stakeholders hope lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic are applied for next September.

After the B.C. government temporarily suspended in-class instruction in March due to the coronavirus, schools re-opened to essential service worker children in April, and to other students on a limited basis in June. Based on the final month of the school year, stakeholders of Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools say there are things to take into consideration going into September.

Denise Wood, Nanaimo district teachers’ union president, said her members saw a heavier workload during the pandemic, which is something she said can’t continue in the fall. In addition, teaching in an online format isn’t the best method, she said.

“Face-to-face teaching is about connections and relationships and those small micro interactions that you’re having with students every single day and when you’re teaching online, that’s not happening,” Wood told the News Bulletin. “There’s lots of students in Nanaimo who did not engage at all with their teachers and for whatever the reasons are.

“Maybe they’re high school kids that got a job, maybe they’re having to look after their younger siblings, maybe they’re dealing with their own crises at home, but as a teacher, you worry about those students and you’re working hard to try to engage them, to continue to reach out. That’s a totally different system than what teachers would normally be expected to do.”

Teachers weren’t able to cover curriculum as usual, said Wood, and going into September, she hopes teachers can do that. Delivery of electives is also something that should be considered, she said.

“If we are in a stage where the virus has increasing numbers, things like band and food, those kinds of classes have to be reconsidered as to how they can be delivered safely,” Wood said. “Students need those elective classes. They need them for their own learning and growth. They need the credits for post-secondary and for graduation, that kind of thing.”

RELATED: SD68 sees third of students return to class with restart

At the the district’s June 24 board meeting, Laura Tait, district assistant superintendent, said committees for elementary and secondary schools, to plan for September, have formed and since the start of the pandemic, the district has created numerous procedures.

“The district has come together and we’ve created operational guidelines for schools and departments,” Tait said at the meeting. “We’ve created a continuity of learning guideline and also our health and safety guidelines. We have that soft infrastructure that exists now for us … We are going to just continue with those same sets of guidelines, but we’re going to think about them for September and that’s really the purpose of these two committees.”

Rob Zver, district education support workers’ union president, said sanitizing and cleaning surfaces was a top priority for district custodians the past three months, but it was difficult to say what he would like to see in place for September.

“COVID doesn’t have a [playbook],” Zver told the News Bulletin. “The health and safety of everybody is foremost and as long as we can abide by procedures and put procedures in there that protect us, then we need to do what’s right … We need to try to keep things working.”

The district parent advisory council was contacted, but was unable to comment by deadline.

RELATED: SD68 operating learning centres for kids of essential workers

RELATED: NLSF looks at ways to feed students during COVID-19 pandemic

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A jail cell at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman reports she was injured by Nanaimo RCMP while being jailed

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. looking into Oct. 1 incident

B.C. Ferries has a mandatory mask policy on vessels and at terminals. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: No tickets for anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

West Van Police say their intention was to ‘keep the peace’ after being called to terminal

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Greater Victoria in high-demand on website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan poses with members of the public during a ‘mainstreeting’ campaign stop Sunday, Oct. 18, at Parksville Community Park. (Peter McCully/Black Press)
‘Buy a boat,’ premier advises anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation, cancer centre, long-term care with News Bulletin

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read