As noted in an email last week, the province declared a state of public health emergency and announced several new measures to slow the spread of COVID-19—some of which impact Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) and in-school learners. Below is a brief update regarding the provincial-mandated measures and an outline of what to expect while in effect.

CHANGES TO IN-SCHOOL LEARNING: OVERVIEW AND TIMELINE

  • Students in grades 7-12, enrolled in in-school learning, move to a temporary online learning model from November 30 to January 8.
  • The Christmas break takes place December 23 to January 5. During this time there is no school for students.
  • All students, kindergarten to Grade 12, resume temporary online learning on January 6 to January 8.
  • In-school learning resumes on January 11.

NOTE: Alberta Education has directed school divisions to follow their Division calendars if dates differ from what was announced during the COVID-19 update on Nov. 24, 2020. As such, the EIPS Christmas break remains unchanged.


TEMPORARY ONLINE LEARNING

Students moving to the temporary online-learning model will do so using the Brightspace platform. Every day, students will log on to Brightspace. Junior high and senior high students are following their regular bell schedule and course timetable. As kindergarten to Grade 6 students are only in temporary online learning for three school days, the focus for these three days is literacy and numeracy.

Once logged on to Brightspace, students simply need to select their scheduled subject—language arts or mathematics. Immediately, they’ll see teacher updates, learning information, required assignments, quizzes and links for virtual instruction. All EIPS schools have begun, and will continue, practicing using Brightspace with students throughout December. As such, the transition should be relatively seamless for learners.

Brightspace log in information for students:
     Web address: https://eips.brightspace.com
     Username: EIPS student email address
     Password: EIPS student password
     NOTE: Contact the school for assistance with resetting passwords.

EIPS encourages all families and students to log in to Brightspace at home and spend some time navigating the site before the Christmas break. If any issues arise, contact your child’s school before the Christmas break. School staff will help troubleshoot any problems, so students have everything they need for January 6.

The Division is also hosting virtual information sessions about navigating Brightspace on December 3. Two concurrent, identical sessions will take place. If one session fills up, join the other one, regardless of your child’s grade.
     December 3 at 7 p.m.
     Session 1: Join the meeting
     Session 2: Join the meeting

How-to tips for working in Brightspace:

 

TEMPORARY ONLINE LEARNING: A SNEAK PEEK

  • Elementary schools will follow the below schedule for temporary online learning, January 6 to 8.
  • Your child’s teacher will share the specific whole-class and small-group meet times through Brightspace, as these will vary from school to school.

Time

Activity

30 minutes at the start of the morning

whole-class literacy instruction (morning attendance taken)

Remainder of the morning

small-group meets and instruction

students assigned to small groups by the teacher and a specific timeslot to meet (approximately 15-20 minutes per small group)

students who are not in small-group instruction have time to work on assignments

30 minutes at the start of the afternoon

whole-class numeracy instruction (afternoon attendance taken)

Remainder of the afternoon

small-group meets and instruction

students assigned to small groups by the teacher and a specific timeslot to meet (approximately 15-20 minutes per small group)

students who are not in small-group instruction have time to work on assignments

  • Each whole-class instructional time starts with attendance, followed by a virtual instruction lesson led by the student’s in-school class teacher.
  • Students must join the virtual instruction meetings five minutes before it’s scheduled to begin.
  • Student cameras must be turned on during all virtual instruction, including small groups, to ensure students are actively engaged.
  • Once the lesson is finished, students can leave the virtual lesson to work on the related assignment.
  • Teachers will work in their regular classrooms to ensure they have access to resources and the appropriate demonstration of course material occurs.


TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS

  • Students must have access to the internet and a computer, Chromebook or tablet.
  • Students who don’t have access to the internet or a computer, Chromebook or tablet, can contact their school to make alternative arrangements.


FAMILY SUPPORT

EIPS understands the provincial-mandated change to learning may create challenges for some families. Please know, the Division’s No. 1 priority is the safety and wellness of students and their families. As such, all EIPS employees are working diligently to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. Additionally, all school counsellors and support teams continue to work with students and families, sharing mental health resources and information. For a list of resources and supports, visit EIPS Mental Health Resources for Families.


SPECIALIZED SUPPORTS AND SYSTEM PROGRAMS

Students enrolled in the following system programs will not transition to online learning and instead continue with in-school learning: PALS, GOALS, PLACE, STEPS, LINKS, SEAS, Impact, CSP and Connections. Additionally, school teams will consider what supports would be helpful for students with significant learning needs to support their programming.


MORE INFORMATION

As more details become available, EIPS will continue to share information and updates. The Division’s also working on a frequently asked question document—available later this week. Information is also available on eips.ca, Facebook, Twitter and each school website. For all other questions and concerns, contact your child’s school directly.


THANK YOU!

Lastly, on behalf of everyone at Elk Island Public Schools, thank you for your patience, understanding and commitment to learning. Adapting to the temporary online learning is an adjustment for everyone. Our goal is to make it as seamless as possible.