York school board set to combine in-class, online students

Oct 13, 2020 | COVID-19, News

A grade two classroom awaits students at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School, part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), a day before classes reopen for the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Picture taken September 14, 2020. (Nathan Denette/Pool via REUTERS)
Jayvon Mitchum

The York Catholic District School Board on Wednesday will be combining both in-person students and online students within one class.

This comes in response to the school board suffering from staffing problems early in the school year.

Mary Battista, the board’s interim director of education, made the announcement through a letter sent to the parents last Wednesday, explaining why the switch was happening.

“Given the various operational and staffing challenges faced in the current remote learning model, a decision had to be made in the best interest of all elementary students,” said Battista, in the letter.

The new learning model will see both in-class and online students joined together through a live stream, where both would be getting the same learning treatment within the classroom.

Battista explained within the letter in detail how the new model also proposes benefits that can make the learning experience safe and fun.

It includes enabling students and teachers to continue practicing social distancing, along with giving the remote students an opportunity to communicate with their friends that are at school. It also offers a smooth transition from both in-class learning and remote learning, to give students the same opportunity to learn at the same time.

She also states that the ordeal could develop the students in a better, more sufficient way than common teaching can.

“It is our firm belief that this format will better serve our students’ educational needs, re-establish links with classmates and promote positive mental health,” the letter said.

Some parents appreciate the plan to add more towards the learning experience, but there are parents like 22-year-old Angela Castillo, a resident of Toronto, who believe this should have been planned out better.

“It’s going to get harder now with parents, especially single mothers like myself, to agree to this plan,” Castillo said. “This should’ve been brainstormed earlier before the school year.”

The transition will begin on Oct 13, with schools closing down for the day to allow teachers to prepare for the new system tomorrow.