Last minute switch to online learning not an option for most students in Waterloo Region

WATERLOO REGION – Parents are reluctant to send their children back to school next week as rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases are unlikely to be able to switch to distance learning.

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board will not be accepting further requests to switch to online school at this time as it would require a complete overhaul of the school system.

The Waterloo Region District School Board said principals would work with families who have exceptional circumstances to assess the potential for switching to distance learning.

The province announced Thursday that the start of the school year was postponed from Monday to Wednesday to give schools time to implement new public health measures.

“We know that many doctors and experts believe the best place for a student is at school, and we know that our students and staff have been very happy to come back in person to learn this school year. We agree that for most students, this is where they learn best, ”said Loretta Notten, director of education for the Catholic council, in an article posted on the council’s website.

While requests to move to its St. Isidore virtual school will not be considered at this time, “the board will be looking at options for continuity of learning in the days to come and when students are away they can check. their learning on the Google or D2L site of their class. . ”

Notten said it can be difficult to navigate in these times.

“We understand that many of you will be worried and want only the best for you and your children. We encourage you to follow the guidelines outlined to the best of your ability and have confidence that our schools remain largely safe, ”Notten said.

The region’s deputy medical officer of health, Dr Rabia Bana, told Friday’s press conference that the two-day deadline for schools to reopen would give them time to put additional measures in place, including options. additional masking for staff and students, updated screening and improved ventilation.

“Additional layers are being added to the back to school plan to create increased protection to keep schools safe and open for in-person learning,” Bana said.

Returning to the classroom is not just about assimilating the curriculum. Students derive physical, social and mental benefits from face-to-face learning.

“I think it’s important to take whatever steps are necessary to keep schools open as much as possible.”