Two Toronto school boards to livestream lessons after axing virtual classes

Oct 8 2020, 12:07 pm

Two Toronto school boards will no longer have separate virtual schools and will instead have students learning from home with livestream in-person classes.

On Thursday, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board sent a letter to parents saying, “Separate virtual school will no longer exist, as all students will rejoin their peers at their home school. Students who are currently in the virtual school will continue to learn remotely but aligned to their home school.”

Because of this change, they will not have specific dates for parents to opt their children in or out of in-person or virtual learning.

“If parents wish to transition their child(ren) from face-to-face to remote learning, they may do so at any time. Principals will accommodate parent requests for their child(ren) to move from remote to face-to-face learning where there is enough space in the classroom to maintain physical distancing and subject to the availability of transportation, if eligible,” the letter reads.

The school board stated that the change is “necessary” to ensure all students have access to the programs being offered.

Because a “significant” number of parents were opting to have their child learn at home instead, fewer students were in face-to-face classrooms.

In order to staff the virtual school, face-to-face classes would then have to be re-organized to align with overall board staffing ratios.

“The re-organization of classes would have to be repeated in February to accommodate parental choice for learning modes. We do not believe the frequent reorganization of classes is in the best interest, first and foremost of our students, nor of our staff.”

The change will occur on November 2.

Similarly, a day before, the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) announced their plans to have the same hybrid model due to “various operational and staffing challenges faced in the current remote learning model.”

A letter from Interim Director Mary Battista notes the hybrid model “has numerous benefits” including keeping remote learners in their home school with their friends, maintaining physical distancing in classrooms, and offering a transition from in-class learning to remote learning or vice-versa.

They will also not require specific re-entry dates through out the school and parents can opt their children in or out of in-person learning at any time.

“Principals will accommodate parent requests for their child to move from remote to face-to-face learning where there is enough space in the classroom to maintain physical distancing.”

The change will take place on October 14.

Recently, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) had to reshuffle dozens of teachers in order to accommodate the virtual learning program.