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COVID Lessons from School: Teacher Research in the Pandemic

April 8, 2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Please join the McDowell Foundation for this special Salon Series focusing on research from three of our teams funded through the directed call.

Presentations will include:

Lessons Learned Upon Returning to School During COVID-19 (Suzanne Zwarych presenting)

The purpose of this study is to garner information from teachers returning to school and use that information to create a valid questionnaire to determine whether practices and interventions put in place by school divisions and government can reduce the anxiety and stress of teachers upon their return to school during a pandemic. The main objective is first to identify processes and policies that helped teachers to overcome the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. The secondary purpose of this study is to attempt to understand the experiences of teachers throughout Saskatchewan, and through that understanding, create a valid survey to document which processes and policies reduced anxiety toward returning to school during a pandemic.

Reducing Student Stress During COVID-19 (Angela Csiki and Brent Keen presenting)

The objective of our study is to pursue strategies to reduce students’ stress about returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will pursue three strategies and measure their success. The first strategy is to have students spend part of their school day outdoors. The purposes are twofold, to reduce the possibility of transmitting the COVID-19 virus and to have students work in an environment conducive to reducing stress. The second strategy is to have students practice mindfulness daily. Students in Turtleford Community School have some exposure to mindfulness and meditation. This will expand on their knowledge and build a regular practice. The third strategy is to empower students to take ownership of classroom routines and school practices intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. We will measure the relative success of each of these strategies and adjust them on an ongoing basis.

Strengthening Schools to Support the Needs of Refugee Students (Kirsten Cavanaugh and Dr. Janet Okoko, Kirsten presenting)

Strong relationships between families and schools must take place to support our learners. Never have these co-operative relations been as important as they are during Covid, when our students were expected to attend to learning with the help of their parents. As a country and province, we have seen an increasing number of refugee families in recent years.

Recently arrived refugee children face many challenges when adapting to their new country and schools along with their parents who may be looking for work, attempting to learn English, and adapting to different cultural norms. For these families, the lack of familiarity with the Canadian school system and implicit expectations and norms can be a struggle. Without strong in-school supports, these children are at risk of failing socially or academically. The purpose of this project is to understand the refugee experience with at-home learning to strengthen our supports for student success.