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Onion Lake Cree Nation unveils more information about back to school plans

Onion Lake Cree Nation has posted more information on their back to school plans.

In a package posted online September 30th, Onion Lake Education stated that schools still do not have a set date to resume, but in the meantime, there have been three options of how schooling will be delivered determined.

These options will be chosen at the discretion of Onion Lake Education, who say they are prepared to switch to a different model should the COVID-19 situation require it.

The first is a physical back to school model. This would see students return, with the exception of ones whose families have made arrangements for home learning.

Students in kindergarten and students in Eagleview Division 4 would go to school from Monday to Thursday, with Friday being a home study day, which students are expected to continue doing school work on. By not holding in-person classes on Fridays, this will give the school an opportunity to deep clean and continue working on learning packages for at-home students. Extra cleaning will be in place, as well as mandatory masks in close or common areas, with students eating lunches at their desk.

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The second is a hybrid model of the two, where students would be split into two groups. The first would do all at home studying, with the second group coming to class Monday through Thursday. They would alternate every week, with the Friday again being at an at-home study day for both groups.

The third would involve the closure of all schools. Should this happen, Onion Lake Cree Nation says all students will learn from home.

Home study worked into all three models

The home study model will see students receive tests, assignments and learning materials from an assigned teacher. This will be picked up by parents every Friday and returned the following Friday in exchange for the next week’s packages. Buses will also be available to deliver these packages should parents be unable to pick them up.

Each grade will have its own time commitment, which will be communicated by the teacher. Learning will mostly focus on maths, literacy, and Otaskanesiwin treaty, Cree language and tradition. Land-based learning will also be available still.

School supports still available

The headstart program will no longer be offered in schools, instead being offered as an outreach program. The coordinator will be reaching out to families in this program. OLCN Education is also working on an outreach program for students. Guidance Councillors will be working with Onion Lake Wellness for mental health supports for students.  Speech and Language, as well as Occupational Therapy, will be going ahead with changes for distancing and cleaning.

A full list of COVID-19 guidelines in school, including times for pickup and drop-off, can be found online on the OLCN website.

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