Canada’s largest school board is once again delaying the start of some of its virtual elementary classes as it tries to keep up with growing demand for online learning.
The Toronto District School Board says 60,000 elementary school students have now signed up for online classes amid rising COVID-19 case numbers, and it originally intended them all to begin their studies on Tuesday.
But the board now says it hasn’t been able to assign staff to all classes, meaning some students will have to wait to begin school until they have a teacher in place.
“We have around 500 teachers [that] still have to be hired so that we can have everyone up and running,” said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.
The TDSB says parents and students will have to log on to its online learning portal on Tuesday morning to find out if their lessons can get underway on schedule.
“Some students will start the synchronous live interactive learning with a teacher, while others will not. Unfortunately, in some cases, there are just no teachers assigned to that class quite yet,” Bird said.
The board says students with no teacher assigned will have to move forward with independent learning.
So when will all elementary virtual learners have a teacher? Bird said that’s still up in the air.
“The fact is, there’s not going to be a single day where magically everyone is going to be able to start again at the same time,” he said.
“So this will be a gradual process that we are aiming to complete this week, although we really won’t know for another couple of days whether that will be able to happen.”
The board says it’s “working around the clock” to hire enough staff to cope with the surging demand for e-learning.
“You know, it’s not ideal. We didn’t want this, but we’re just trying to make the best of a very difficult situation on the staffing front,” Bird said.