Hamilton

Hamilton public school board delaying transition day for students amid pandemic challenges

Hamilton's public school board is delaying the first day elementary students could have switched between online and in-person learning due to a number of roadblocks it has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says the Oct. 13 date has been pushed back to Nov. 3

Hamilton public elementary students who want to switch between online and in-person leaning will have to wait until the start of November. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Hamilton's public school board is delaying the first day elementary students can switch between online and in-person learning due to the number of challenges it has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board noted in a report to trustees the Oct. 13 date has been pushed back to Nov. 3 because of "the staggered start, the significant demand for remote learning, the additional time needed to assess school level space in order to maintain physical distancing, and the anticipated number of changes to student and staff class assignments."

Peter Sovran, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board associate director of learning services, said families will receive a notice on Tuesday afternoon about the change.

"We're going to provide them the details on how we want to collect the information from them, but they'll have up until Thanksgiving to give us that information and we'll need a couple of weeks after that to reorganize both in-person classes and remote classes," he explained in a phone interview.

"We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to settle in, experience that learning environment and they can make a more informed decision, whereas if we wanted to make the transition occur right after Thanksgiving, we would have had to have asked for a decision already and begin the transition process."

The board's virtual school has had delays due to a leap in demand.

At least 8,700 students have registered for it in the past weeks, creating a huge demand for more educators. On Friday, HWDSB said it was eight teachers short.

"Given all that, we thought a couple extra weeks was really reasonable," Sovran said.

INTERACTIVE | Use this map to find COVID-19 cases in local schools

The public board also emphasizes in its report every effort will be made to accommodate requests and that discussions related to extraordinary circumstances will continue.

Sovran added that HWDSB will bolster its "Thoughtexchange" program where families submit their thoughts to the board, see each other's thoughts and add stars to the ones they think are important.

All of the results are then shared online.


Attention parents, students and teachers: We want to hear from you!

We hope you'll use this form to tell us about school conditions, how classes are going or whatever other pressing issues are on your mind this September in Hamilton, Niagara, St. Catharines and Burlington.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now