Home Online Work COVID-19 testing underway as École La-Belle-Cloche prepares for online learning

COVID-19 testing underway as École La-Belle-Cloche prepares for online learning


Work is underway to roll out virtual learning for students at École La-Belle-Cloche on Wednesday, officials with P.E.I.’s French Language School Board say.

Over the weekend, three new cases of COVID-19 linked to the school in Rollo Bay were announced.

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École La-Belle-Cloche will be closed from Monday to Friday with online learning starting Wednesday.

A testing clinic was set up at the school Monday for staff and students.

Gilles Arsenault, superintendent of the board, says work to transition students to an online model begins with guidance from the Chief Public Health Office.

Gilles Arsenault, superintendent of the French Language School Board, says the process to transition to online learning at École La-Belle-Cloche would be the same for any school within the board. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

“There’s a lot of steps that need to be taken, right, to ensure that we look after the safety and the education of our children,” Arsenault said.

He said there are 127 students at the school, from kindergarten to Grade 12 and all of them will transition to online learning while the school is closed.

The immediate focus is making sure staff and students who need to be tested are able to do so, he said.

“Today is kind of a turn over day, where people can go and get their test done and we have also to realize that families and the parents that have to adapt as well to this new form of learning, so we want to give them breathing space as well to do that.”

It’s really just reactivating our virtual learning.— Marise Chapman

Marise Chapman, principal at École La-Belle-Cloche, also has three children who attend the school. She said officials wanted to make sure students and staff have enough time to get tested before teaching resumed.

“We really wanted that opportunity to get tested and not have the feeling that they would miss learning,” she said. “So, not learning [Tuesday] in the traditional way but making sure that families are OK and they have everything they need to go through this process.” 

Transition to virtual learning

Arsenault said the next step is making sure students have access to the technology and equipment they need for online learning. He said the school board provides laptops for students who need them, which would be delivered Monday and Tuesday. 

The school board then works with the Department of Education to make sure teachers have all the information they need to teach the online curriculum. 

Arsenault said teachers will begin reaching out to parents and students on Tuesday through Google Classroom to ensure students are able to connect online and have access to course materials.

He said new course material will officially roll out on Wednesday when online learning formally begins.  

Options for students with poor Internet 

Chapman said many grade 7 to 12 classes have been using the online platform regularly throughout the school year and she expects the transition to go smoothly. She said some students at the school have gone to a virtual model before after a positive case was identified there in September. 

‘Student well-being and staff well-being is at the core of what we need to do today and first thing tomorrow,’ says École La-Belle-Cloche principal Marise Chapman. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

“Many of those tools were already in place, so it’s really just reactivating our virtual learning,” she said.

“We do have some concerns with technology for certain families or access to good Wi-Fi or good internet service. We are in a rural area so we do have families who do not have internet connections,” she added. 

Chapman said teachers will contact those families directly and print copies of lessons and class activities will be dropped off to those students. 

She also said teachers of younger students will be reaching out directly to parents to talk about how to support their children when it comes to operating a computer. 

All schools ready and prepared

Arsenault said the process would be the same for any school within the French board and could be implemented at any time if needed.

“Everything has been looked at in terms of the equipment that’s required, the training that’s required for teachers,” he said.

“The education system has adapted very well in the last year and a half and I can say that today we’re way more confident of the way that we can use technology to be able to offer online training for our students.”

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