Students in Garden Hill First Nation to repeat school year lost to COVID-19, officials say

A Manitoba First Nation has decided that all students will be repeating their grade in the coming school year.

School closures affected the Garden Hill First Nation — a fly-in community about 600 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg — because many students did not have laptops, tablets or smartphones for online learning.

Read more: Manitoba to move all K-12 schools in Winnipeg, Brandon to remote learning Wednesday

Catherine Monias, the Indigenous community’s education director, says even for children who did have the technology, the internet bandwidth in the community is too weak to broadcast classes successfully.

Educators across the country are making plans to have kids return to classes full time in the fall, but many parents are worried about what more than a year of learning disrupted by COVID-19 has meant for their children.

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Teacher documents COVID-19 recovery

Experts say the focus will have to be on students’ social and emotional needs and on patience with academic achievements.

Laurie French, president of the Canadian School Boards Association, says in most cases a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work for schools.

Read more: Winnipeg School Division shutting down playgrounds

She says plans should be localized and flexible to best meet the needs of students in their communities.

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