The Gabriel Dumont Institute announced a partnership with the United way of Saskatoon and area last week to provide funding to students attending GDI Learning Centres in La Loche and La Ronge.

Through the COVID-19 Emergency Community Support Fund, $50,000 will be given to the locations. Since it’s through this fund, the Government of Canada will also be funding part of the initiative.

Geordy McCaffrey, executive director of GDI, said the funding is to help ensure students have all that they need to learn remotely, such as laptops and virtual programs.

“The remoteness and the pre-existing socio-economic conditions in the north create barriers for students in terms of access to services and resources,” he said. “Student health and safety is kind of our priority right now and this funding will allow us to do everything possible to ensure our facilities and delivery methods are safe.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students at these locations will only be learning in class 40 per cent of the time with the other 60 per cent being from home.

McCaffrey said many students felt ill-equipped to learn online.

“We did receive quite a bit of feedback outlining their concerns and difficulties,” he said. “Some of the things we heard—access to technology and supports were among the bigger issues.”

La Ronge and La Loche are GDI’s most northern learning centres in the province.

(Photo: GDI logo. Courtesy of Facebook.)