Mon. Jul 26th, 2021
photo of four girls wearing school uniform doing hand signs

While summer is upon us, it is not going to be long before students will be excited, nervous or agonizing over the first day of school. Whatever the feeling, one thing is certain: a return to some state of normal is anticipated.

By | Nina Stofati & Dylan Nguyen

As British Columbia’s vaccination roll-out begins to ramp up, the province is slowly re-opening. With several aspects of society returning to normal, many students expect schools to follow the same direction as the recreational activities mentioned in the province’s reopening plan. The K-12 Education Restart Plan outlines when it is appropriate to return to the way school used to be, prior to COVID-19. Stage one requires the province to be in its final step of phase four.

BC is currently on track to enter this final step in early September, and according to the plan introduced by the Ministry of Education, it would also be appropriate for schools to return to the way they were before the pandemic. Now that staff and students have experienced a full year under the quarterly system, what would they like to see in September if they are given the choice?

To further understand the ways that the quarterly system has affected certain departments within Notre Dame, staff at The Observer interviewed Mr. Isherwood, head of the fine arts department, and Mr. Scott, the head of the socials department.

When asked if there were significant changes across the two departments in terms of teaching, both teachers responded with a simple answer: yes. Despite choir running in a linear system during this year, Mr. Isherwood acknowledged the changes regarding the delivery of teaching methods, noticing that the compressed schedule contributes to faster-paced teaching.

The year was not normal at all for choir. Singing with masks, filmed performances, singing 6 feet apart are all very difficult and different.  There was nothing that was the same.  However, the teachers and students made the best of it and adjusted expectations to have a successful year.

Mr. Isherwood

Mr. Scott noting that it has become more difficult to monitor how well students are doing and to respond to students needing support. Moreover, Scott also mentioned that the quarter system has affected how his social classes operate, as material and process had to be expedited faster when compared to a more linear schedule.

Mr. Isherwood preferred a return to the linear system, an opinion that was strongly supported by Mr. Scott. However, Mr. Scott also stated that his department is capable of carrying out its courses under any system. It goes to show that teachers have been able to adapt during this pandemic, albeit with some drawbacks.

Schools across the province have experimented with various education methods throughout this pandemic. They have managed to keep schools open as much as possible while ensuring everyone stays safe. Educators along with government officials hopefully know what works best for students and teachers. If all goes to plan and cases remain low, students deserve to return to a normal academic year like the ones they have known before the pandemic, something that the ministry along with the Provincial Health Officer has promised students all across British Columbia.

 

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