RED DEER -- Red Deer Public schools will start releasing learning packages for all K-12 students on Monday.

The packages will follow the guidelines established by Alberta Education on continued student learning. The guidelines were established after schools were cancelled due to COVID-19.

The areas of focus for the learning packages will be determined by the grade of the student. Elementary students’ learning packages will mainly focus on language and mathematics.

Students in grade seven to nine will focus on the core subjects of mathematics, language, science, and social studies.

High school students will focus on the courses they need to fulfill their requirements for high school graduation. Teachers will assess students throughout the remainder of the school year, and students will receive a final grade and a report card.

The Director of Community Relations with Red Deer Public Schools, Bruce Buruma, said consistent parameters across the province regarding the continuation of learning is important.

“We want there to be consistency across our district, but really with districts across the province,” said Buruma.

“So, that all students in Alberta have an equitable opportunity to continue learning.”

Elementary students will be assigned an hour a day to work on the learning packages, and junior high students will be assigned an average of 2 hours per day. High school students will be assigned three hours per week for each course they are enrolled in. Buruma said it is vital that students keep learning while they’re out of school.

“If students aren’t engaged in learning, it’s not only that they don’t learn, but they actually regress.”

Grade 12 students are in a particularly difficult position as many post-secondary institutions have enrollment requirements for specific programs. Buruma said there will have to be some sort of accommodation.

 “No doubt there’s going to have to be accommodations made to make sure students are able to continue.”

Red Deer Public Schools will also provide access to technology to families who need it. Parents are asked to contact their child’s school in such a situation.

“We do recognize that there isn’t equality in terms of access to technology, but we’re going to do the best that we can because technology will be parts of the ways that we learn.”

Buruma said that although the learning packages will be administered at home, teachers understand the importance communication has in regards to a student’s learning.

“I think it’s reassuring for our teachers to hear our students’ voices, and I think it’s really assuring for our students to hear our teachers’ voices.”

“It needs to be as much as a two-way process given the circumstances that we have, so that is part of our priority as well to maintain that personal connection with our students.”