Another month learning at home for N.S. students
HALIFAX -- Thousands of Nova Scotia students, along with their parents and teachers, are now bracing for another month of online learning.
That's after the province announced Friday that all public and private schools will remain closed for the month of May due to surging COVID-19 case numbers.
"I'm trying as hard as I can, I think all parents are really trying," says Allison Stephens. She's been busy helping her seven-year-old daughter learn from home in Windsor, N.S., while also trying to manage her home-based jewelry business.
"I'm helping her through the day with her online school, then I'm working into the night," she says.
The news that pattern will have to continue until at least the end of the month is a bit overwhelming.
"I think I'm echoing all the other parents that I've talked to that the idea of doing that is stressful," she says.
In the province's COVID-19 update Friday afternoon, the premier said schools will stay closed for the rest of May, "at least."
"We'll reassess at the end of the month to determine whether students can go back to class in June," Iain Rankin said.
The head of the union representing the province's teachers says it's the best move to make.
"Given where we are with the epidemiology, it's the right thing to do, it's the right call … to keep teachers and students, and the communities safe," says Paul Wozney.
Wozney says there's no evidence at the moment to suggest students have suffered any so-called "learning loss," and suggests students here have been at an advantage over others across the country, as Nova Scotia only shut down schools completely April 27.
But the timing is especially tough for Grade 12 students, whose last year of high school looks like it may end much differently than it started.
Sara Fitzgerald's son will be graduating from Sackville High School this year. She credits teachers for keeping her son's academic year on track after the shift to online learning.
"The only thing we can do is support our kids as much as we can," she says, "and help them out as much as possible with this whole learning from home."
Seventeen-year-old Kenzie Coffin will be graduating from Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford, N.S. this year.
She says learning in the classroom was easier for her, and many of her classmates.
"It's not great, it's definitely been a rough adjustment for a lot of people."
She had been hoping for in-person graduation this year, but now she's not sure that will happen.
"It's kind of hard knowing that the cases are going up and probably not going to be able to have that opportunity," she says.
For now, all students, parents, and teachers can do is continue with online learning, watch the province's case numbers, and hope for the best.