School Update ~ March 19, 2020
A week ago, as our March break was just beginning, we were not particularly surprised by the announcement that all publicly-funded schools were closing for the two weeks following the March break. We, along with all of our partner Christian schools, thought it wise to do the same, not least for the safety of our communities and as part of our civic responsibility. We anticipate that the closures may extend beyond April 5th and are preparing accordingly.
Does this mean no school?
No. For our part, we have only suspended on-campus learning, but we intend to continue with the delivery of our programme online for completion within the semester dates already laid out. We will be following Ministry of Education guidelines for online learning credits.
This means, as we shared last week, that we are looking for ways to do this online using our existing platforms (Edsby, Google Classroom) and other course-specific software and platforms. We also plan to use Zoom for video conference calls as classes and smaller groups within classes.
When are students expected to be “back at school” online?
Monday 30th March.
Teachers and support staff will be using next week (March 23rd to 27th) to plan and prepare their classes for online delivery. For students, classes will resume, online, on Monday 30th March. In the meantime, we suggest you download Zoom and make sure you have what you need for online learning. If you need help, please reach out to Mr. Hordyk or Mr. Blyleven for support.
What expectations will there be for students?
There will be times when students will be expected to “attend class” in an online meeting at a set time. We will publish the schedule for this next week. There will also be expectations for them to check-in with their teachers and to submit responses or assignments within deadlines specified by each teacher. Attendance will be recorded for both the in-person class meetings and the online check-ins or submissions.
- We will also have some virtual communal connections such as devotions.
- We will be conscious of trying to limit screen time, but also trying to keep connected as a community.
What support will students receive?
Teachers and Learning Support Workers (LSW’s) will continue to check-in with students and be available for individual help. Parents and students will be able to contact them, by Edsby Message or email, during the normal school day (between 8:30am and 3:30pm).
Mrs. Koiter (Learning Coordinator) will also be available for consultations, as will Mr. Apers (Director of Student Services), Mr. Webb (Dean of Students), Mrs. Boonstra (Counsellor), and Mr. VanKampen (International Coordinator). If in doubt, Mrs. Slootweg is a great contact person and will direct you to the right person for help: use infomailto:mailto:@hdch.org to reach her, or you can also leave voicemail, which will be checked regularly and followed up.
For tech support
Mr. Blyleven and Mr. Hordyk are the best to contact. They can help with questions about hardware or software, and provide support with the platforms we’ll be using.
For healthy nutritional support, Chef Nathan will be posting some recipes, tips, and ideas in a new Edsby group to be announced next week.
Health and Wellness
Your health and wellness is important! As noted above, there will be student support available online at regular times. Watch for a message from Mr. Apers early next week about wellness and where to find resources.
Class communication will continue to happen through Edsby and Google, with Zoom as the added conferencing platform.
School-wide communication and announcements, such as this one, will be posted in a new Edsby group called “COVID-19 Communications”. All students, staff, and parents will be automatically added to that group.
Student Learning Conferences have been postponed until further notice. In the meantime, parents can contact staff via Edsby or email with any questions you may have about your child’s learning. (Staff email addresses are all first initial last name @hdch.org – e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Literacy Test (OSSLT) has been cancelled this year and Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, said “this cancellation will not impede student graduation.”
This is new territory for us and for you, but we serve a God who is with us, who is behind us and who always goes before us. We look forward to continuing to work with you, students and parents, as we seek to cultivate character through learning for lives of service to God. May His Spirit continue to work in you and through you!
Duncan Todd, Principal
Hamilton District Christian High