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TDSB working to develop curriculum plans if school closures extend

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 7:53 am EDT

A classroom sits empty. UNSPLASH/Rubén Rodriguez

The Toronto District School Board’s director of education has released a letter to try to ease some fears surrounding education in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter said school boards will be using the next two weeks to develop plans for how the curriculum will be delivered to students, in the event of an extended closure.

This includes exploring ways to provide students with internet access and devices, accommodations for different types of learners and students with special needs, and programming for adult and continuing education students.

“Working with the Ministry, we are developing a plan that would connect teachers to their students and/or their parents/guardians on a system-wide basis and would restore teacher-led learning to the greatest extent possible,” director John Malloy explained.

He said parents and guardians will be updated as soon as the board receives additional information from the Ford government about when school will return.

“As you can imagine, developing a plan for 247,000 students while schools are closed and on an extremely tight timeline, is challenging to say the least,” he said.

“At the same time, our goal is to create teaching and learning conditions that will, as best as possible given the circumstances, lead to the successful completion of the school year for all students and to support students in advancing to the next school year and to graduate.”

Last week, Premier Doug Ford said students would not be going back to class on April 6 as originally intended. He said they continue to take the advice of medical officials and that Education Minister Stephen Lecce would be working to try to determine if and when students can get back into the classroom.

The Ontario government also rolled out an online learning plan which which would largely be based through TVO, the province’s public broadcaster.

Ford said the “learn at home” online portal doesn’t replace school, but is meant to address parents’ concerns that kids will fall behind during this period.

The resources offer interactive activities for elementary students and a focus on STEM courses for high school students.