All educational institutions are under lockdown in Saskatchewan due to the worldwide COVOD-19 pandemic.
Recently, Jonas Cote, principal of the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex (CGCEC), and Janet Love Morrison, a teacher at the school who is also a published author, communicated with the Kamsack Times about how the staff and students are coping during this unprecedented time.
“During the COVID-19, the teaching staff of CGCEC have been working hard at getting homework packages out to their classroom students,” said Cote. “This has been done twice a month.
“Just recently we were able to provide Chromebooks to homes of our students. These Chromebooks were purchased to assist students to continue with their education. Teachers are doing their best during this pandemic. It is a very (different situation), how would one begin to describe it in words? To be in a time of a pandemic. I think the last recorded incident like this was 100 years ago.
“We are also following the Ministry of Education guidelines and its plan during this pandemic. As for the fall, we do have a plan in the works, if this should continue into the next school year,” he concluded.
“We were fortunate in January that staff from Treaty Education Alliance (TEA, based in Fort Qu’Appelle) made two trips to our school to teach our high school students and teachers how to engage with online classes. In these workshops they took us step-by-step through logging in, accessing the lessons and submitting the work,” said Morrison.
“Some high school students have chosen to take the pass grade, which is fine; however, others have worked hard to get higher grades. I’m really impressed with those students. They chose to take responsibility for their learning. They contacted me if they had a login challenge, or wanted to know how to move forward.
“As I see it, a new way of life and education is here; that’s a fact, and I have to do what I can to make sure my students are prepared,” she continued.
“Therefore, I’ve been working with teachers from TEA schools twice a week on Microsoft Teams. We have created a post-COVID curriculum titled: You’re Living History - Learn Something.
“It’s a cross-curricular unit and we’ve woven in English, Math (statistics), Science (environment, earth) Native Studies, Wellness and more that are all connected to COVID. It’s been a huge amount of work, but as an educator I need to do what I can because we all need to have the ability to meet the new and transform. Our world will not be the same and I don’t want my students to be left behind.
“It’s been a huge learning curve for me to work online too. I’ve done my best to communicate through different mediums with students. I attempted a Zoom meeting with them.
“I’ve taken TEA’s online classes for teachers to learn their online platform and I’m continuing to learn. It’s the new and we don’t know what September will bring so I feel it’s my responsibility to do what I can to be prepared in order to serve the students as best I can,” Morrison concluded.
Morrison is a published author whose eighth book, The Hawk and the Hare, a work of fiction based on her father’s experiences during the Second World War, was released in May. She has taught at CGCEC for the past three years.