Thousands of Windsor-Essex students switch from at-home to in-school learning
Desks are spread out at St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School in Amherstburg, Ont. on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Rich Garton / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Thousands of Windsor-Essex students are going back to school after almost two months of online learning.
The deadline to change learning models for parents and students was this week for most students.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says out of 900 responses, 803 elementary students are going to switch to in-school learning and 97 are changing to at-home/remote learning.
“We believe those parents have seen how we have managed the re-opening of our schools and are now confident enough to send their children back,” said a statement from WECDSB director of education Terry Lyons.
At the Greater Essex County District School Board, there are 1,879 elementary students making the change to in-class learning, while 498 are opting for online.
Chris Mills is the Superintendent of Education at the public board and tells CTV News, staff reorganization will begin right away, while trying to keep students with their current teachers.
“What we’re committing to is we’re trying to minimize the disruption for staff and for students,” he said. “That’s not to say change won’t happen with the number of students that are moving this time. It’s inevitable that we will have some change to some of those classrooms.”
Local President of the Greater Essex Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Mario Spagnuolo, worries what the changes will mean for class sizes and physical distancing.
“It’s a struggle right now to maintain that distancing,” he said. “And adding one or two students to a class can make it so that you won’t be able to maintain that social distance.”
Lyons said the WECDSB will now begin the process of reorganizing classes to integrate these students back into their schools on Nov. 2. The GECDSB is hoping to have integration complete by Nov. 9.
Anyone who missed the deadline is asked to call their home school office and “we will do what we can to accommodate them,” added Lyons.
The high school parent declaration form is still open and available on the WECDSB’s website. Deadline is Nov. 2, and the second quadmester begins Nov. 16.
- With files from CTV Windsor's Ricardo Veneza