Lethbridge schools are welcoming more students back into the classroom amid COVID-19.
Monday was day one in the public division’s final pivot point, where students in early education to grade 8 had the option to switch paths. Roughly 230 students did just that.
“We had a total of 178 students move from at home learning to in school learning, and 72 move from in school learning to at home learning,” Cheryl Gilmore, superintendent of schools at Lethbridge School Division, said.
The biggest change was in kindergarten to grade 5. The final pivot point was pushed back about two weeks to give parents more time to consider their options following the Christmas break.
Gilmore said each pivot point comes with some challenges, not just for the student making the change.
“It impacted entire classrooms of students where entire schools had to be reconfigured, students with different teachers, teachers with different assignments and so it really does have a fairly resounding impact,” the superintendent said.
The Holy Spirit Catholic School Division is seeing the same trend, however the division does not have set transition points for students in elementary to grade 9.
“We strongly believe that, if at home learning or in person learning isn’t working for a student, they should be able to move at a time that works best,” Carmen Larsen, director of dearning with Holy Spirit School Division, told Global News.
Larsen added the biggest change for them has also been in elementary students
“At the beginning of the year we had 558 students that were doing at home learning and currently we are at 507.”
Both divisions said students, teachers and parents have taken the changes over the last year in stride.
“We’re not going to go back to normal, we are going to go back to a better normal,” Larsen said. “We are going to have so many things to bring with us when we do return to whatever normal is going to look like.
“There are many great takeaways from this, as challenging as it has been.”