Schools will remain closed for the rest of the current academic year, Education Minister Brian Warr announced Friday.

The minister says a plan is being developed for instruction for September that will encompass various options depending on the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic at that time. While in-school instruction has been cancelled for the remainder of the school year, he adds that it’s important that at-home learning continues.

With six weeks remaining in the school year, the government encourages parents and students to continue learning under the guidance of their teacher(s) as the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) and the Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador (CSFP) continue to offer and strengthen supports for ongoing learning. Teachers will continue their engagement with students using a variety of online teaching tools such as Google Classroom and Google Meet. This also presents an opportunity for students to improve their final grades.

School districts will issue report cards with final marks the week of June 22, with transcripts to be issued by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development the week of July 6.

Credit rescue and credit recovery options continue to be available to alleviate any negative impact on high school students, particularly those graduating or transitioning to post-secondary institutions.

Equity and access to learning resources remains a priority for government and the school districts. Within the NLESD, 4,000 students have been identified as needing devices. To date, 2,500 of these students have received devices such as Chromebooks, iPads and laptops. The District has sourced the remaining 1,500 devices and these are in the process of being distributed. Solutions are also being found to address connectivity issues for the approximately 270 students who do not have access to the Internet. These include the use of MiFi devices, actual home Internet installation or the use of iPads with data cards and monthly packages included.

The provincial government is working closely with the school districts, public health officials and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association on a comprehensive plan for September, which will encompass all aspects of the K-12 education system. This includes potential requirements for both in-class and online learning, depending on the status of the pandemic, appropriate physical distancing measures, cleaning and disinfecting requirements, and provisions for busing and lunches, among other considerations.