New Brunswick – Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Dominic Cardy, provided a general update today on the 2020/21 school year in New Brunswick.
Cardy began the briefing with a shout-out to teachers, students and parents who have stepped up and adapted to a unique and challenging end to the 2019/20 school year.
Cardy said it was “far from a perfect system”, but he took pride in how well it had worked. He added he was “very grateful for their work and devotion”, saying teachers had gone “above and beyond”, exceeding expectations and adapting to new learning methods.
“Our world has changed drastically over the last few months,” he said.
Cardy said parents and students should not expect to be returning to the same classroom and/or school environment they left when schools closed in March, and that the “new normal” would be in place until a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 was available.
Cardy was also clear that he and his department don’t currently have all the answers.
“This update is not going to address every single question you have about what the 2020/2021 school year is going to look like,” said Cardy.
“I’d love to be able to answer all those questions today, to say that I have all the answers, to say we’ve worked out all the details for September of this year, but that is not the case – it’s not realistic to expect that we still have a lot of work to do.”
He went on to say it would not nor could not be a “one size fits all situation”, and that any plan must be flexible and adaptable.
The Return to School: September 2020 plan outlines the operational requirements schools and school districts will be required to while developing independent COVID-19 operational plans. The plan works in conjunction with public health guidance and may be changed as the pandemic evolves.
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will attend school full time and students in Grades 9 to 12 will be taught using blended learning methods, which supplement instruction in classrooms with distance instruction. This may include, online course work, guided projects, experiential learning or co-op placements. The current plan is high school students will be in the classroom every second day.
Some classrooms may have smaller groupings, depending upon the grade level. K-8 students will stay within their class grouping throughout the day. Transition times, such as arrival, breaks and lunches, will be staggered.
Physical distancing is required for students in Grades 9 to 12 and will be observed to the greatest extent possible.
Additional changes will be limited public access to schools throughout the day, and pick-up and drop-off times may vary.
Parent/teacher conferences will now be held over the phone or via video call, and in person only if necessary.
Classroom numbers will be smaller, and the overall schedule may be different.
The department will continue to work with educators, schools, and school districts in the coming months. More information on facilities, scheduling and transportation will be communicated directly to families through the school districts this summer as schools develop their individual plans.
Parents may also call the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development at 1-844-288-3888.