Education Matters English

TDSB: virtual learning or in presence, families to choose by mid-August

Following the Ontario government’s decision to allow families to choose for the 2021-2022 school year between face-to-face learning and distance learning, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has informed parents that the decision will not need to be made until mid-August.

The choice, suggests the public school board in Toronto, is important and therefore should not be rushed: the decision to send their children to school or to have them follow the lessons online from home must be communicated by parents with the compilation of an online selection form that will be sent to parents in August.

It is not an easy choice for parents: the uncertainty dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the fear that children may contract the virus, the lessons in person that if the infections resume rising would be interrupted are not factors that help to move the needle of the scale on one side or the other. The hope, especially in these last weeks, is that with mass vaccination infections will come down and the scarecrow put into account by virologists of a possible fourth wave of Covid, remains only a bad thought. Among many variables, the certainty is that in order to decide to attend the lessons, parents would like to have a very precise idea of how schools prepare for the guidelines for the safety and protection of children’s health. “By mid-August, the TDSB expects to be in a better position to provide information about health and safety measures for in-person learning and will expect higher levels of vaccination among TDSB staff, students and families – read in the email addressed by the school board to the parents of the children attending its schools – for this reason, the TDSB is expecting that for the next school year 2021-2022 a greater number of families will opt for in-person learning.

It must also be said that from 31 May the vaccine will also be given to children aged 12 to 17. The immunization of teachers in the province, on the other hand, began on April 10 after long pressures: the category has repeatedly reiterated that it does not feel comfortable going to schools to teach. In recent months, some teachers from schools in hotspots have refused to enter the classrooms.

So far, the TDSB – which is Canada’s largest school board and the fourth-largest in North America – is the first Ontario board to begin planning early next year. Parents of children who attend the schools of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) and other provincial boards are still waiting to receive details for the reopening of schools in. Meanwhile, the students seem to have to finish the current year away from the classrooms.

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