Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools has opened learning centres for children of essential service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district operating learning centres for children of essential service workers

SD68 to provide more information this week on a continuity of education plan for other students

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district is offering educational support for children of essential service workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C.’s Ministry of Education suspended in-class instruction in mid-March and students have been learning from home. Tim Davie, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools deputy superintendent, said two learning and care centres have been opened for essential workers’ children (Grades K-7) while parents are performing their duties, with more expected to open throughout the district.

The district identified which families needed support through a survey, Davie said.

“We have, on site, staff that will be directly in a classroom with the students,” he told the News Bulletin. “Their classroom teacher from their catchment area school would be providing a continuity of learning plan – recommended or suggested activities for the student to be engaged in. The student would be bringing that work with them, along with any other materials or items that they wish to bring from home.”

Davie said the school district will be adhering to B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health safety requirements at the learning centres.

“In terms of social distancing, we’ve had our professional staff … [go] to each of these sites and take a look at the classrooms, the layout of the buildings and determined how many classrooms that we would open at each site and also determined flow of persons within the building and social distancing,” said Davie. “We’ve limited the numbers within each classroom to a measure that would exceed the recommended space.”

As for learning for other students, Davie said a soft rollout for a “continuity of learning plan for all students” occurred last week and full rollout is expected on Tuesday, April 14. Just because there is no learning on site doesn’t mean learning isn’t taking place, he said.

“Classroom teachers have immersed themselves in various platforms for online communication and online learning…” Davie said. “Teachers were asked to connect with all students that are in their care.”

Davie said the district is not divulging learning centre locations for privacy of essential service workers and families.

“This is a civic responsibility,” he said. “We deem that we are also providing an essential service to meeting the needs of all families and whether that be through the continuity of learning plan or whether that be providing these centres, we want to take care of our students and recognizing that these times aren’t normal for anybody.”

RELATED: Home-schooling becoming rule, not exception in SD68

RELATED: SD68 developing plans after COVID-19 suspension

RELATED: B.C. suspends K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19

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