Announcement – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contingency Planning: MFNERC Online Learning

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Attention: Education Directors and Principals, MFNERC Member First Nations and MFNSS First Nations

The Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC) supports your rapidly changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 17, 2020, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) declared a state of emergency for each First Nation, and Manitoba Education announced a three-week suspension of in-person classes at all public schools, beginning on March 23, 2020. Short-term responses included local teachers preparing print-based work packages, but the recommended social distancing strategies to flatten the curve could last upwards of 18 months.

Preparing for Educational Continuity

With the infrastructure already in place at MFNERC, First Nations schools in Manitoba can consider other long-term planning options, such as transitioning student learning to an online learning platform. Assuming that teaching teams have salary continuance and access to technology and bandwidth outside the school, they may begin preparations to post instructional material online. Where possible, appropriate technologies should be made widely available to students as well. 

Under the direction of education authorities, teachers can move toward MFNERC’s online learning system with the support of Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate staff. Wapaskwa staff can prepare the learning management system (LMS) and a course template for your teachers to post any planned learning opportunities.  Your instructors may wish to carry out learning activities in the form of readings, activities, assignments, recorded mini-lessons, or longer recorded instructional sessions as well as other types of student engagement (readings, assignments, quizzes, etc.). MFNERC can support scheduled online meetings, live tutoring sessions, or video assignments that are possible from a variety of devices (computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.).  Wapaskwa staff are creating training resources to support remote teachers and a webinar, “Remote Teacher Training via Adobe Connect.” At this time, priority will be given to accommodate teachers of Grade 12 students. As requests for online training and course template creations are completed, expansion to additional grades will follow.

Communicating Your Interest

Communicate your interest and then register online: www.wapaskwa.ca

Please provide the following to support@wapaskwa.ca

  1. An email response indicating your First Nation’s interest in setting up online education.
  2. Locally appointed Lead Person’s name and contact information.
  3. A list of valid emails of staff and student members, course names and grade levels for the course template that we will create (Grade 12 priority) so that accounts can be created.

Note:   Despite the best efforts to plan, prepare, and support schools and parents, a fair assumption is that educational continuity planning is being constructed for enrichment purposes. This is because there is inequitable access to equipment and connectivity to hold students fully accountable to be able to log in and/or meet the provincial learning outcomes and/or mastery learning.

For more information please contact: Allison McDonald, Principal, Wapaskwa Virtual Collegiate at support@wapaskwa.ca.

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