The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will soon ask parents and guardians to choose whether their child will return to in-class learning or stay virtual for next year.
A special meeting was held by the TDSB Friday night as staff unveiled plans for the September 2021-2022 school year to trustees. The TDSB says it plans to inform parents of the new changes on May 17th. Course selection forms will follow on May 25th. On June 1st, the selection form will close at midnight.
The board is reassuring parents that anyone who misses the deadline will have a place saved for them at their home school. If students opt to go back to the classroom there will be one option to switch to virtual learning in February 2022.
The TDSB says learning models will be dictated by enrollment. The board is planning on having a four-cohort system but says that could change depending on the pandemic.
In a bid to reconnect students to their home school, the current virtual school system which can see students from across the board in the same class will be eliminated. It’s not yet clear what the virtual format will look like for students come September, which prompted some trustees to speak out during Tuesday’s meeting
“I really hope that this year once we get the selection form done and we’re preparing for our models that we put our focus on virtual learning,” says Yalini Rajakulasingam, TDSB trustee for Scarborough North.
“I feel like last year there were so many students in virtual schools that only started getting teachers in October. I hope that we prepare this year to ensure students are learning at the same time.”
Friday’s meeting comes just days after the Ford government confirmed students can opt to take all their classes online when the new school year begins in September. The province says it will be providing more information to parents in the coming months, and that it will increase funding to school boards by $561 million next year to help address continued pandemic-related costs.
It says it will spend a total of $25.6 billion on the education system in 2021-2022 — an increase of 2.2 per cent over the previous year.
As the 2020-2021 school year ends, the TDSB says it is also coordinating the return of millions of dollars worth of equipment. The board says over 75,000 devices were lent out to students to support remote learning. That’s about $15 million in Chromebooks and $12 million in iPads.
The TDSB says devices must be returned by the first week of July. Students who are continuing online learning this summer will not have to return their device.
With files from The Canadian Press