Virtual Learning continues at Robert Land Academy as it does across Ontario. With students restricted to accessing their lessons via their devices and teachers delivering content from home, it is no wonder questions are being asked about the short-term and long-term impact on academic progress.

The CBC report on the growing concern about the impact of the pandemic disrupting schooling highlights several key points:

  • Literacy skills are declining
  • Time spent in front of a teacher has dropped
  • Difficulties with identifying those struggling

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Robert Land Academy, a private boarding school in Ontario, minimizes these adverse effects on learning by ensuring all students continue to receive quality time with their teachers. Even though the Academy’s teachers are at home, the students receive at least four hours of ‘live lessons’ throughout the day. This contrasts with many public-school boards that require their students to log in and complete assignments without a live lesson. 

Graduate student engaged in a ‘live lesson’

Teachers at Robert Land Academy set a variety of classwork, coursework, and homework. Students are encouraged to complete a mixture of tasks that challenge all aspects of literacy. Although most of the learning takes place on MacBooks, students will often write their assignments by hand and scan the document so their teachers can assess and provide written feedback.

Each night and over the weekend the students consolidate their learning in study halls. This is the students’ time to revisit their lessons from the day and to ask their teachers questions. It is not unusual for the teachers to be online at this time to support, teachers will offer tutorials or provide one-to-one support for those in need of extra assistance.

The Academy also provides the students with access to specialized tutors. The tutors are based on campus and available every day to support students. The teachers and tutors stay in close communication to identify those needing targeted intervention.

It’s not all work, after their virtual lessons students are encouraged to spend time outdoors playing socially distanced sports and getting fresh air. With the extra time in front of a screen and the additional pressure of COVID-19, the students welcome the opportunity to take a break and look after their mental wellbeing. The Academy provides additional support in the form of counselling and one-to-one conversations for those requesting support. 

The Academy understands the current COVID-19 restrictions are not ideal and is eagerly awaiting the return of in-person learning, however, it is making every effort to ensure the academic progress of its students remains the core focus during this challenging time.