Teachers will need time to prepare for remote classes in January, according to Norbert Carpenter.
If schooling moves to totally remote learning, the director of Prince Edward Island’s Public Schools Branch is unsure when lessons will resume after the holidays.
Following the announcement on Friday of 31 new COVID-19 cases on P.E.I., Chief Public Health Officer Dr Heather Morrison issued new restrictions.
Premier Dennis King of Prince Edward Island indicated on Friday that schools set to reopen on January 4 will most likely reopen after January 8.
Although the premier hinted that schools would convert to remote learning, Norbert Carpenter, the director of the Public Schools Branch, told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin that no decision has been made.
“I know the president hinted at it, but we don’t have a firm response yet on whether we’ll switch to online learning that week.”
Teachers will need more time to prepare if schools are obliged to convert to totally remote learning, according to Carpenter.
“We definitely want our personnel to enjoy Christmas,” Carpenter said, “a well-deserved break after a very hard fall.”
Setting up takes time.
Fully remote learning entails classes that are either recorded or delivered in real-time. Carpenter estimates that teachers will need at least “two days” to prepare virtual classes after the school year resumes.
“Teachers need the time after the holidays to make sure everything is in order and all the kinks are ironed out so we can get back to work,” he said.
“To be fair to our employees, they must be able to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that all logistical issues are resolved.”
When pandemic limitations were imposed in March 2020, all schools on P.E.I. switched to strictly remote learning. At the start of the 2020-21 academic year, public schools resumed in-person study.
Following COVID-19 breakouts, numerous schools have independently offered online sessions for a limited time as a safety precaution.
Carpenter said the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning intends to have HEPA filters put in schools shortly, though no clear timetable has been set.
He referred to it as a priority.
“I believe the installation of those is on the horizon, which means they’re making sure procurements are in place and that they’ll be able to receive them in a timely manner.”