Schools prepare to rethink, resume classes

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North Otago schools are ready to get back to work today.

Access to the internet and digital devices would be a barrier to online learning for some children in the Waitaki district, but teachers and pupils were feeling positive about the new school term starting in lockdown, North Otago Primary Principals’ Association president Kate Mansfield said.

Mrs Mansfield, the principal of Glenavy School, said her staff had been doing a lot of research and up-skilling so they were prepared to teach by distance – and children seemed to be excited about doing more work online.

Everyone was ‘’prepared for this next challenge’’, she said.

“The children will drive their own learning, in the sense that they will have a list of tasks that can be completed and they will choose which they would like to complete each day,’’ she said.

While the Government was working to deliver modems and devices to pupils who needed them, Mrs Mansfield expected the primary sector would probably be the last to receive them.

Mrs Mansfield’s message to staff, parents and pupils was to ‘’just do what you can do’’.

“It has to be flexible, work for their own family and not cause any stress,’’ she said.

“Most parents are really positive. As a parent myself with high school-age children, I am looking forward to the children getting a bit more structure.’’

At St Kevin’s College in Oamaru, teachers had been preparing lessons using video conferencing, Google Classroom and other online tools, principal Paul Olsen said.

“We are confident that our students will have plenty of rich opportunities to keep up with their learning over this challenging time,” Mr Olsen said.

“I am very pleased with the commitment our whole staff has made to make online learning work for our students.”