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Continued learning for NWT students during COVID-19

NWT Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) R. J. Simpson met with territorial education leaders and the NWT Teachers’ Association (NWTTA) April 21 to discuss continued learning for NWT students during COVID-19 school closures.

In a statement released April 22nd, ECE confirmed that all schools across the NWT have begun supplying their students with at-home learning packages

  • Either through pick-up, delivery, mail-outs or email, to accommodate and support students with and without home computers and Internet access.

These packages provide enough schoolwork for one to two weeks of learning

  • students can either email or drop off completed packages at schools while following protocols for physical distancing.

Where possible, schools have supplied students with laptops or tablets, and have moved their classrooms online onto platforms such as Moodle or Google Classroom.

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In addition, many education bodies have dedicated first weeks of distance learning to supporting student and family wellness. For example;

  • East Three Secondary and Elementary Schools in Inuvik are offering phone counselling for their students and have set up a ‘Health and Wellness’ Facebook group
  • K’àlemì Dene School in Ndilǫ focused their first week of teaching on how to set up a daily routine, doing outdoor scavenger hunts and writing personal wellness plans.

ECE also confirms in each region, a range of food hampers, gift cards, grocery store accounts and cooked meals are being provided to households in need, either directly or via the local Indigenous government’s food security initiatives.

As well as new assessment tools for distance and land-based learning, with the understanding that many families are spending time on the land as a way to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement then says the lack of home computers and Internet access, as well as the struggles that come from shifting to an at-home learning environment, are obstacles that teachers and staff, with the support of ECE, will continue to find ways to work around.

Educators will continue to show flexibility and creativity in adapting their approach to providing learning and wellness supports to students during this time.

The next meeting of education leaders with Minister Simpson is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

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