Ontario students begin online learning as coronavirus pandemic continues

Apr 6 2020, 2:43 pm

Ontario students begin their first day of online learning on Monday, as school closures are slated to continue into at least May, to protect children and education staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The education platform called Learn At Home recommends elementary students spend between five and 10 hours on learning per week, depending on the age.

And high school students should spend three hours per course per week if they’re on a semestered system, or half that if their schedule isn’t split into semesters.

“Starting today across Ontario, students and their families are re-connecting remotely with educators to keep students learning in the time of COVID-19. We know this is not normal and that there will be a learning curve for all involved,” the Ontario Public School Board Association said in a tweet.

On March 31, the province announced the expansion of the Learn At Home program, as schools would be closed at least until May 4.

After the school closure extension and Phase Two of the Learn At Home program was launched, the OPSBA responded to the announcement saying the staff from school boards across the province “have been working together with the ministry and labour leaders to put in place a plan that keeps students learning.”

Cathy Abraham, president of the association said that the tone of the conversations were “positive and collaborative.”

“We all want what’s best for our students. At this point, the Ministry of Education has it’s Learn at Home website and I know, many boards have a number of great resources on their websites as well and are working with their dedicated staff to reconnect teachers and other school staff with students from kindergarten to Grade 12.”

On Friday, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) thanked parents and families for their patience and support as schools plan their online learning strategies.

“In a system of our size and diversity, this is no small task and I want to thank you for your patience and support as we have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to plan and implement remote learning in the Toronto District School Board,” the statement said.

The TDSB supports around 240,000 students.

The provincial online program will provide parents and families with educational material in English and French and will offer curriculums for Grade K to 12 with lessons for basics like reading, writing, math, and science skills. There will also be certified tutors available through TVO.

The second phase of Learn at Home will reconnect students with teachers and other school staff, including mental health workers. It will also leverage digital resources and identify alternative forms of teacher-student connectivity by phone and mail.

Report cards will also be required for all students and prioritize and support students who intend to graduate this school year.

There is also awareness to provide laptops and other devices from schools as needed, while observing public health direction.

Lecce has also assured students that are graduating this year will not be affected by the closures.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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