As the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact became undeniable and the necessity of school closure became imminent, our teachers mobilized with remarkable speed, adaptability and commitment.
From the Friday afternoon announcement that schools would indeed be closed right away, to an immediate distribution of school materials for our children to take home hours later, to an all-staff massive organizational effort on Monday, the first leg of our distance learning program was up and running within days.
With the exception of a handful of students now cared for by our dedicated school nurses in the Emergency Care at school, whose parents are in service in the healthcare industry, all other children are now learning from home.
Kindergarten teachers put together comprehensive Learning Kits with exercises and activities that will take the children through until the Easter break. Teachers have established their own YouTube channels to carry on the offering of a “morning circle,” presenting the tasks of the day and giving the children reassuring continuity.
In Primary 1 through Primary 6 classes, as well as grades 7 through 12, the students do their work with Teams on Office 365. Primary teachers work with their own classes, and College teachers have set up their own individual channel specific to their subject.
The sophistication of the Office 365 platform lets teachers upload materials, hold live video meetings with a chat option, and give assignments with specific due dates and instructions. The benefits of the O-365 program became quickly tangible, much to the appreciation of our teachers who spent many hours learning to use this software in professional development this past year.
From the very first day of implementation, we were proud of all we managed to achieve, and the progress is noticeable daily. Of course the learning curve is steep: this is a brand new creation and unfamiliar terrain, but we will continue to improve, week by week. The feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, and teachers continue to work hard to stay ahead of their lesson plans.