Revelstoke Secondary School. (File)

COVID-19: How Revelstoke schools are tackling the virtual classroom

Technology brings more choices

Although Revelstoke students are not in classrooms, they are still attending school using computers and web cams.

When the pandemic hit, students were on spring break. When the holiday ended March 29, school resumed, albeit vastly different then two weeks prior.

Classes are now held online and over web cams. Some teaches have launched their own learning websites, such as Ms. Strange’s Library Class where students from all grades at Columbia Park Elementary can try a weekly task.

This week Mme. Perusse wanted her students to work with and learn about PATTERNS at home. Supported, Kindergarten Numeracy looks a lot like lunch when you’re learning at home! (Photo via Twitter)

Strange’s challenges for this week include reading So you want to grow a taco by Bridget Heos and then making food art and sharing a photo.

“Don’t forget to eat it when you’re finished,” writes Strange to her students.

READ MORE: Revelstoke students to remain home next week

READ MORE: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19

Teachers are still going to the school premises, but Superintendent Mike Hooker said staff are on a rotating schedule to limit the amount of people inside a building. He continued it’s been quite the adjustment for teachers, who are used to face-to-face interactions.

One silver lining of virtual schooling said Superintendent Mike Hooker is students have more choices.

For example, in gym class pre-COVID-19, if the daily activity was basketball, students had to play basketball. Now, they have a selection of exercises.

They can still play basketball, but they might also have the option to choose gardening or shoveling snow.

“They now have five or six different choices to get their body moving,” said Hooker.

In some ways, there’s some form of normalcy.

For example, principles are still doing daily announcements. Columbia Elementary’s Principle Andrew Pfeiffer posts a video chat each morning on Twitter, one time he dressed up as a Hawaiin Cat in the Hat. Other days, such as Music Friday, Pfeiffer and staff dance to requests from students. Last week, it was Dancing Queen by Abba.

With virtual classroom sessions, Hooker said a teacher can upload a lesson onto YouTube, allowing students to watch it whenever. Previously, if the kid didn’t come to school that day, they missed the lesson.

Hooker continued the school has contacted each student’s family to ask how they are, what technologies they already have that could be used for virtual teaching and what technologies they lack.

He said the district is in the process of delivering up to 60 computers to families in Revelstoke to help their kids “attend” school.

Revelstoke band students got their instruments, like the big bass, delivered to their homes. (Submitted)

“We’re here to support and not dump more work onto parents.”

He continued the largest worry the district has is making sure student’s social and emotional sides are looked after. While a virtual world has benefits, Hooker said it’s harder to check on a person’s well being.

In a classroom, a teacher can gather information on a student health through their body language.

“That’s much harder to do by phone,” Hooker said.

By comparison, the learning opportunities will sort themselves out he said. One way or another.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Revelstoke students describe life during pandemic

Schools are more than institutions of learning said Hooker, for some students they are safe havens and offer support, like the breakfast program.

Hooker said the breakfast program will continue and the district is working on a plan for home delivery.

For Grade 12 students, Hooker said not to worry as the pandemic will not derail post-secondary plans. While high school graduation has not yet been cancelled, Hooker said it could be changed to address challenges raised by the pandemic.

“Our community is pretty innovative.”


 

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liamm.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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Music teachers Tessa Davis and Lori Snider deliver band students their instruments. The two have been physical distancing together for the last month. (Submitted)

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