To: All Families
From: Tony Stack, CEO/Director of Education
Subject: Expectations and Next Steps
Date: March 19, 2020
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District continues to formulate plans to support our province’s students and teachers following the unprecedented suspension of in-class instruction within the public K-12 school system. As new protocols have been put in place, many District employees throughout the province are working from home, as all residents of our province manage child care, health care and, in some instances, care-giver responsibilities. These are challenging times for us all. I want to assure you the public education system will remain connected to our students and will be available to support our school communities through whatever means are available and safe.
Families and students can expect contact from their classroom teachers in the coming days as we aim to maintain the connections and relationships we have developed. Our teachers will continue to be in regular weekly contact with our families, although this may look different depending on individual circumstances. Our teachers will be utilizing teacher-home communications through email or other electronic means. Your teachers will remain the link between your family and any supports (e.g., guidance services) available through schools and the District.
K-9 Next Steps and Resources
While it is unknown how long the suspension of in-school instruction may continue, the District is advising families that all K-9 students will be progressing to the next grade level, no matter what occurs with the remainder of the school year. Teachers will respond to learners’ needs when this academic year resumes or the new school year begins. District Programs staff will provide access to general resources, and in the coming weeks, primary, elementary, and intermediate resources for students to engage in learning activities. Please note, there will not be an expectation for teachers to assign grades or values to any work being undertaken while at home, but students are encouraged to share their work with educators for feedback, guidance and encouragement where possible.
High School Courses
The District is in discussions with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and post-secondary institutions about the protocols for high school credit courses. Those discussions remain ongoing at this time and further information can be expected in the days ahead. I can reassure graduating high school students and their families that we are focused on ensuring that post-secondary plans are not negatively impacted.
Relationships and Personal Wellness
There should be no reason for families to be stressed or concerned about trying to recreate what is achieved in the regular school environment. Within the District, our current collective focus is on our learners and our staff; on maintaining and even strengthening our relationships. As I have indicated before, these are challenging times for us all. Let’s focus on doing what we can, while looking after our own health, supporting each other, and attending to those in need around us.
On behalf of the District, I take this opportunity to thank all members of our school communities for your patience, concern, and continued commitment to our young people. I believe one of the most important characteristics we will draw on in the days to come will be our individual willingness to adapt and respond in extraordinary circumstances. We are stronger together, even with the physical distance that must currently exist between us.
Please continue to follow recommendations from public health officials in the coming days and weeks, in the best interest of all.