Peel students move to online-only instruction for the next two weeks

Published On April 14, 2021 | By Vrajesh Dave | News

It’s time for kids to open their laptops, wipe off those cameras for Zoom and get back to online learning once again.

In a press release, the Peel District School Board (PDSB) announced all its students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 will be learning remotely starting April 6.

The move will see more than 153,000 students in the PDSB move back to an online-only learning model, after previously offering a variety of blended, in-person, and online learning methods.

Tiffany Gooch, the PDSB’s executive lead of Public Engagement and Communications, attributes the decision to move to online learning because of public health authorities.

“We remain grateful to staff, students, and families who have taken extraordinary efforts to change their routines and carry out collective actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school communities safe,” Gooch said.

The decision comes at a time when the province reported 2,938 new COVID-19 cases on April 5 and 3,041 cases on April 4. Specifically, 533 cases were from Peel alone, according to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Similarly, Dr. Nicola Mercer, the medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, issued a Section 22 Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on April 5 to move all schools within the region to online learning as well.

PDSB published a Google document on its website offering mental health support and community resources, including crisis support lines, suicide prevention services and multilingual distress lines for students.

Students at Edenwood Public School in northwest Peel build an outdoor learning space for their school community in November 2020. Photo Credit: Peel District School Board.

Students at Edenwood Public School in northwest Peel build an outdoor learning space for their school community in November 2020. Photo credit: Photo Courtesy of Peel District School Board

However, teachers believe their mental health is not being looked after as compassionately.

Derek Wun, a department head for Family Studies at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, said while youth mental health is important, it shouldn’t be prioritized over that of the teachers.

“Teachers are being pushed to their limits to try and accommodate,” Wun said. “Teachers are bending over backwards even though it creates more work and stress for them.”

Before this 100 per cent online learning model, more than 11,000 of Peel’s teaching staff catered to students with online, in-person, and blended learning models.

Peel’s 42,000 secondary students, including those that Wun teaches, had been accustomed to the Board’s new “quadmester” model, which splits the academic year into four segments each with two courses.

Wun said moving back to an online-only learning model should help overwhelmed and frustrated teachers.

“In January everything was fully online, and it worked fine. Every teacher has been forced to teach online so they know how,” Wun said.

All before and after school programs will also be cancelled until April 19 while Spring Break will carry on during April 12 to April 16.

Below is a Piktochart infographic that breaks down Peel’s learning models for elementary and secondary students.

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