Ontario students will have virtual learning option next school year

School boards will be required to offer online learning

Students in Ontario have been learning online since April because of the third wave of COVID-19, and if they wish to continue with the virtual experience in the 2021-22 school year, school boards will be required to provide that option.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce confirmed those expectations at a media briefing on Tuesday.

Lecce was pressed by reporters if there were any chance students would return to the classroom for the last month or so of the current school year.

NO FIRM DATE ON THE RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM AS EDUCATION MINISTER POINTS TO HIGH COVID NUMBERS

“While students are home learning remotely, our province continues to directly tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. While we all want in-class learning to return this spring, we will not take risks with your child as we respond to high rates of COVID-19 in the community, intensive care units overwhelmed, and variants seamlessly entering from our porous international borders,” said Lecce.

“But I want to assure parents that we will continue to work with and seek the advice of the chief medical officer of health on the way forward. The arrival of vaccines means there is hope on the horizon.”

Several school boards in the province have already taken the lid off plans to offer virtual learning next year.

“The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) has been working on a plan regarding remote learning for next year. In light of this new information, which we just learned about today through Minister Lecce’s news release, we need to revisit the plan and make appropriate adjustments. At this point, we have not received all of the details from the Ministry of Education, but we are committed to sharing our plan with families as soon as possible,” said Pauline Stevenson, SMCDSB Communications Manager.

Sarah Kekewich, Manager of Communications with the Simcoe County District School Board, said the matter of online learning will be addressed later this month.

“Staff will be bringing a report forward to the Program Standing Committee Meeting on May 12 with information about learning modes for the 2021-22 school year,” Kekewich said in an email to Barrie 360.

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