I want to begin by thanking you for planning and preparing Supplemental Learning opportunities for your students. Working from your kitchen tables, your basements, your spare bedrooms, your patios, and anywhere else with a phone and the internet, you have been keeping our system alive. You have been a source of calm and reassurance for families across Horizon, as you began reaching out, building upon relationships already established, and gathering critical feedback to support supplemental learning for students throughout this crisis. The hours you have spent engaged in this work has not gone unnoticed. I am inspired every day by your dedication, Horizon. Education is one of the key tools we have to wage war against this virus. We will continue to provide opportunities and support for education in the midst of the challenges we face. We will continue to teach. We will continue to learn. We will continue to be here for each other.
In the midst of this crisis, we also addressed the two-year anniversary of another tragedy that touched our world. April 6, 2018, changed so many of our communities and lives forever. For every day since, we hold those we have lost and those who were impacted forever in our hearts, finding strength in their memory and in each other.
No matter where you were this past Tuesday, I know many of you wore green for Green Shirt Day in honour of Logan Boulet and the rest of the Broncos families. I am also certain you started a conversation with your friends and loved ones about organ donation as the selfless story inspired people from across Canada and the world.
LEARNING RESOURCE MATERIALS
You will see a document that is attached regarding the distribution of learning materials provided to us from Saskatchewan Health
. There is a caution in relation to the virus that causes COVID-19, that the "transmission from surfaces such as paper is low". As a result, we will continue our direction regarding supplemental learning. Out of an abundance of care and caution, the distribution of paper will be used only as a very last resort. Approval for such delivery will occur in situations where it is the only option we can find to offer learning support. Our focus will remain on working from home and doing everything we can through electronic means.
To ensure issues with connectivity are managed, we have been in the process of distributing Chromebooks to our families. We have asked you to report this family need to central office so we could ensure the supports are put in place. As a result, the deployment of over 500 Chromebooks has already started! For those families who do not have access to the internet, we are working diligently on finding solutions to address this need. Sasktel and Xplorenet, significant service providers for our families in our school division, are providing unlimited data overages until the end of April. More information regarding their plans beyond April will be shared as soon as we have them. Most recently, we are implementing a plan to provide cellular devices to those homes who do not have devices, such that they can be used to create hotspots. The province is also working at a provincial solution to support this issue as it remains one of the most significant hurdles to supplemental learning in Saskatchewan homes.
PLEASE...TAKE A BREAK
Take care and enjoy a well-deserved holiday. Thank you once again for all you are doing to support our children, families, and each other. Although the challenges will continue to arise as we move forward with the processes to support education, I am thankful that many of you have already found your way through effectively and are even reaching out to provide support to others. I am reminded time and time again that this is a temporary situation that requires our due diligence in supporting each other by staying apart so that once day we can be face to face again. No one has a crystal ball in terms of when this crisis will allow us back in our schools but we know that one day we will...and we will be stronger in spite of it.
Take care, everyone, and have a wonderful Easter holiday. It is so very much deserved for each of you. Stay #HorizonStrong!
Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed.
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205