Toronto, Peel public school students will be back in the virtual classroom April 6

SPENCER GALLICHAN-LOWE | posted Tuesday, Mar 31st, 2020

Two Greater Toronto Area school boards said they plan to start teacher-led online education next week following the closure of Ontario schools because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Peel District School Board (PDSB) said Monday they are prepping their staff and getting equipment ready for online learning starting on April 6.

John Malloy, TDSB director of education said the board is contacting families to determine what their children will need to learn online. He said they want to make sure students have a computer or similar device, as well as have internet access.

Malloy said the board is still waiting on parametres from the Ministry of Education in terms of what a school ‘day’ will look like, as well as how assessments will be handled.

He added that students will learn from their own teacher and interaction will be optional to each instructor.

Peter Joshua, the PDSB’s director of education, said they are developing plans for online learning for all grades, including adult and continuing education.

“We are currently finalizing a plan, and I look forward to sharing it with staff, students and families by the end of this week,” he said in a news release. “Thank you for your ongoing patience as we work to create a comprehensive and equitable plan to ensure all learners’ needs are met.”

He said the plan will include supports for students with special education needs as well as English language learners.

Other key components include a plan to ensure equitable access to electronics and the internet, as well as mental health and community supports.

“We are working to ensure that our use of online learning environments will not widen the divide between privileged and underserved students and that alternate learning strategies will be available,” he said. “In addition, we’re working to ensure equity of access to technology.”

With files from 680 News’ Patrick Luciani and Asher Roth

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