At a May 6 meeting, staff from Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools detailed measures the school district has taken to account for the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

At a May 6 meeting, staff from Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools detailed measures the school district has taken to account for the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo school district COVID-19 response includes loaning 2,000 Chromebooks

SD68 figuring out learning-at-home and technology needs through June and potentially into fall

With schools closed for more than two months due to coronavirus, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ students have relied on technology for learning continuity, say school district staff.

The school district department of learning services reported to the education committee at its May 6 meeting on how it is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was held remotely, with the assistance of technology, something students are relying on to learn, according to staff.

Don Balcombe, assistant superintendent of secondary programs, said the school district is entering a new arena where its approximately 14,000 students have to move from the structured and organized learning environment of a classroom and continue learning at home. It has brought a lot of considerations for the district in its work in trying to support the system, including considerations for the learning space students have in their homes to be able to continue learning and access to technology, he said.

RELATED: Learning centres open for children of essential workers

RELATED: NLSF finds new ways to feed students during pandemic

RELATED: Home-schooling about to become rule in SD68

RELATED: SD68 developing plans after COVID-19 class suspension

“Our learning coordinators have got to work on providing a bunch of documents,” said Balcombe. “So teachers have said, ‘What does this look like?’ ‘How do I move my learning online or give access to my students?’ So everything from guidelines for technology to supporting documents for families on what it would look like for working from home, to teaching support guidelines for K-7 teachers … 8-12 teachers to what platforms we use. So we’re a Google classroom, we have FreshGrade, we have Microsoft Teams that we’re meeting on here tonight.

“Pre-spring break, we would have typically about 25 users on Teams. Today, I would say, when I checked in with [information technology department], we’re well over 1,500 users on a daily basis, so things have changed quite quickly.”

The biggest point that has been “amplified” during this time is equity of access for students, according to Balcombe. He said students are on a level playing field and opportunities are available when in the classroom, but that doesn’t always translate at home.

“So our IT department has had an overwhelmingly massive response in a very short period of time,” said Balcombe. “They have loaned out approximately 2,000 Chromebooks out to students who did not have technology at home. They’ve arranged for over 150 families to be provided affordable internet access, so families that did not have access before … we’re trying to figure out what the learning-at-home and technology needs will be for today, tomorrow and through the rest of June and potentially into the fall as we respond to COVID-19.”

Other measures the district has instituted during the coronavirus crisis include the establishment of learning centres for children of essential service workers and continuation of meal programs for vulnerable students, via delivery of food hampers from the non-profit Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Smaller egg farmers find themselves in a David and Goliath situation when it comes to major producers and chain-grocery store shelf space. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island egg producer cries foul over ‘Island’ label

Egg farmer frustrated with regulations allowing mainland-laid eggs to be labelled ‘Island’

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Greater Victoria is defying national and provincial employment trends as the unemployment rate in December dropped to 5.8 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Dropping unemployment rate in Greater Victoria defies national and provincial picture

Broader trends such as high youth unemployment are solidifying

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns (Black Press Media file photo)
Charity’s plan to flip tax-exempt greenspace to development angers Metchosin mayor

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria tight-lipped on land plans

North Cowichan Mayor Al SIebring helps Chris Istace to put up a tent at the site of one of the homeless camps installed in 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Editorial: We’re on the right path to address homelessness

Housing first model can only help improve the situation

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

(Pixabay photo)
Emergency repairs underway on Phillips Road in Sooke

Sewage may have entered DeMamiel Creek and Sooke River

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Qualicum Beach council wants dogs on a leash when at the town’s cemetery. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council wants dogs leashed if owners are visiting town cemetery

Signage to be posted at entrance after dog spotted chewing decorations at children’s grave

Most Read