“The transition of Grades 7-12 back to school on January 11 worked smoothly, as it allowed students to end the semester with in-person instruction.This allowed teachers the opportunity to review objec- tives taught during the at-home learning phase before writing final exams,”added Tymensen.“We've had no school-based or community-based COVID (outbreaks) that has resulted in students needing to quarantine since we came back from Christmas break.” The focus has now shifted to the fall, where the

federal government maintains vaccines will be pro- vided to any Canadian who wants one. While the hope is there, the guarantee is anything but and school divisions are staying on their toes and staying ready for many different scenarios when the next school year rolls around. “One of the greatest challenges is really not knowing for certain

how long we will be in a pandemic mode, and what that will entail moving forward.However,we are planning to enhance what we have already learned and look to continue to provide enhanced and augmented programming options for our students. For some of our learners, who live in the remote corners of our geographic jurisdictional boundaries, or on neighbouring First Nations commu- nities,having equitable Internet access remains a fundamental soci- etal challenge,”said Sampson.“Not knowing with any degree of cer-

tainty what will be in store for the 2021-22 school year is somewhat of a concern.However,we will confidently look to the future with a solutions-focused mindset and continue to fine-tune our many approaches in deliver- ing quality instruction and Catholic education program- ming to our students to optimize learning.All three pos- sible delivery modalities (complete remote learning, a hybrid or blended model or a full return to in-person learning) will continue to be explored and refined,as we move closer to the commencement of the 2021-22 school year.” Horizon, similarly, is not taking anything for granted and will be prepared for whatever happens over the next several months.

“We are not anticipating vaccines for students anytime soon, and

don’t expect vaccinations to be available for staff until the summer,” continued Tymensen.“Add new COVID variants to this and I do not expect significant changes anytime soon.I would guess the virus will become part of the seasonal flu and will be circulating around the general population from here on.This means we will be living with it for some time.This means enhanced cleaning, masks, social gathering restrictions and other measures won't be totally going away anytime soon.As such,we plan on continuing to provide par- ents with the opportunity to access at-home learning with certified Horizon teachers for next year.

insight magazine march 2021 - 17

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