The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development wants to remind all New Brunswickers their highest priority should be to follow the recommendations of Public Health and our provincial government to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, flatten the curve and save lives. We realize that the closure of school facilities, as part of our systemic response, will require us to change traditional educational approaches.
As Canada’s only bilingual province, New Brunswick has a constitutional requirement of educational duality. Our Anglophone and Francophone sectors have a rich history using their own unique approaches for the last 40 years. As such, our approaches to the current situation will likely vary as well.
All Grade 12 students who had at least 12 credits at the end of first semester, January 2020, and were on track to graduate in June 2020, will do so on time and will receive a New Brunswick high school diploma. Transcripts will indicate the student was “enrolled,” in current semester courses. These second semester classes will all count towards the required number of courses for graduation.
Grade 12 students who plan to graduate but have not passed the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) will not be required to complete this assessment. Their transcripts will indicate that the ELPA was “not required.”
The New Brunswick Government will work with post-secondary institutions to ensure this situation does not prevent student eligibility for admission to post-secondary studies in the upcoming school year. Officials will also reach out to registrars to request flexibility on scholarship deadlines. This is a pandemic situation and students across the world will be facing interruptions or alterations in learning. All learning institutions, including universities, will need to adapt to this reality.
Decisions on graduation ceremonies and other graduation events will be made in the coming weeks based on direction from the Office of Public Health. No decisions have been made at this time.
The remaining 2019-20 provincial assessments will not take place, with the exception of the Grade 12 French Oral Proficiency Interviews which will be offered on a voluntary basis. The department is currently working to develop a process to offer interviews to interested students online or by telephone.
April report cards are postponed until further notice. Learners on track to move to the next grade level will do so. Upon return to the classroom, educators will determine where students are in their learning.
The ability of the education system to deliver learning content will be greatly dependent on advice from Public Health and government response to the situation throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have developed a number of planning stages to reflect a number of different potential situations.
State of Emergency Educational Delivery
During the current state of emergency, under guidance from the Chief Medical Officer for all New Brunswickers to stay home, teachers are unable to work in their classrooms with access to school resources. Nor do they have the ability to send home learning materials physically and would be forced to rely on electronic methods.
The department understands that many families do not have access to technology or the internet and that their immediate priority is, rightfully, on health and wellbeing. We also realize there is a significant portion of our population who do have access to these resources and they are looking for educational direction and, at times, mental health support. Learning needs to be flexible and reflective of the various circumstances and environments that currently exist.
Mental health is a key focus. In the current situation, wellness and a sense of connectedness are primary concerns for all learners within our school communities. They are cornerstones of learning. Our first priority is for educators to make contact with every family. Following this, weekly check-ins, at a minimum, will serve to maintain social connections and to provide support.
The department and school districts have already begun to circulate regular mental health support material. Starting this week, each District announced a mental health support line where students can access guidance counsellors and Child and Youth teams. Additionally, schools will provide suggested outcomes and materials to guide families in the development of their adolescent’s age-appropriate life skills, along with activities for physical and mental wellbeing.
All teachers, no matter the level or what they teach, will be available to participate in the planning and development of home learning options in addition to maintaining weekly contact with their assigned students. Teachers will also work to prepare for the eventual return of students to in-school learning and will participate in required professional learning and regular school team meetings. Guidance counsellors will be available to deliver services, within their professional scope, via the support lines. Speciality teachers will also be available to help produce learning options to facilitate student participation in personal interest areas like the arts or trades.
Department and District staff will work with schoo_l leadership and teacher teams to assist with the home learning options development and delivery.
For each of the categories below, families are encouraged to continue discussions and to participate in activities, to the extent possible, that promote physical fitness and positive mental health, nurture creative expression, stay connected to others, and encourage social responsibility. An Education and Early Childhood Development Family Resource page has been set up online to offer information, general ideas to support learning and guides to support mental health and wellbeing. Information can be found at Learning at Home: Resources for Families1.
Schools will work with families of students with Personalized Learning Plans, Adjusted (PLP-ADJ) Learning Plans – Individualized (PLP-I), to discuss how parents can best support their child in the current situation. Electronic resources will be shared as they are developed on the Education and Early Childhood Development Family Resource page.
Every family has a different home environment and we understand they may not be able to consistently support the suggested guidelines. However, parents will have a key responsibility of encouraging students to complete the provided material helping to ensure the continuity of children’s education in this current model. Teacher’s regular content will be meant to support the parent’s efforts, and to further assist parents looking for options beyond those supplied below.
Kindergarten to Grade 2
Home learning options to support literacy and numeracy outcomes will be made available electronically to families. Families are encouraged to read aloud with their children daily and to support their child to complete provided options for an average of 1 hour per day. Families are encouraged to consider daily physical activity and free play as important parts of their child’s mental health and skill development.
Grades 3 to 5
Home learning options to support literacy, numeracy, and science outcomes will be made available online to families. Families will be encouraged to have children participate in these options, to the extent possible, an average of 1 hour per day (5 hours per week). In addition, learners are encouraged to participate in a daily minimum of 30 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of physical activity.
Grades 6 to 8
Home learning options to support literacy, numeracy, science, and social studies outcomes will be made available online to families. Families will be encouraged to have children participate in these options, to the extent possible, an average of 2 hours per day (10 hours per week). Learners are encouraged to participate in a daily minimum of 30 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of physical activity.
Grades 9 to 10
Home learning options to support provincial literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, and personal skill development outcomes will be made available online to families. Families will be encouraged to have students complete these options for a minimum of 2.5 hours per day (12.5 hours per week). Learners are encouraged to participate daily minimum of 30 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of physical activity.
Grades 11 to 12
Education content will focus on core courses to meet high school graduation requirements, including: Math, English, Second Language, Science/Technology, History/Social Studies. Families will be encouraged to have students complete these options during a minimum of 2.5 hours per day (total of 12.5 hours per week). Learners are encouraged to participate in a daily minimum of 30 minutes of reading and 30 minutes of physical activity.
Learners who are currently enrolled in on line courses offered within the New Brunswick public education system, or as dual credits with other institutions, are encouraged to continue with those options as usual and as their personal circumstances permit.
Schools who already have fully developed, or are able to develop, online course options will be permitted to proceed with those courses to further the learning of students who are willing and able to participate. While principals will have the option to award a credit for these course options, they will indicate a pass only format and no mark will be attached.
Non-State of Emergency Educational Delivery
When the province removes the state of emergency conditions, access to travel and resources may be different. If schools continue to be closed for students, the overall home learning options will remain the same; however, the type of materials and supports provided to families may be supplemented. This could involve more specific teacher designed and prepared material, along with broadened options to ensure access to all students in the province.
Return to Regular School Attendance
Return to regular school attendance will be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis. As the situation continues to unfold, we are unable to predict a start date at this time. Moving forward, the department, school districts, and schools will work to develop contingency plans for any potential future return dates.