Almost 1 in 5 HWDSB students expected to register for online learning

Up to 20 per cent of students in Hamilton's public school board could register for online learning. That's roughly 10,000 students or close to one in five kids at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

HWDSB director Manny Figueiredo said close to 20 per cent of students will use online learning

Close to 20 per cent of HWDSB students may register for remote learning according to HWDSB's director. (Juliya Shangarey/Shutterstock)

Close to 20 per cent of students in Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board are expected to register for online learning according to director Manny Figueiredo.

That's roughly 10,000 students or about one in five kids at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Figueiredo made the prediction during a special board meeting on Monday, saying the number could range between 15 and 20 per cent, but will probably sit closer to 20 per cent.

The board is already planning at least one virtual school to accommodate roughly 5,000 elementary students doing remote learning, but 20 per cent would be roughly 7,300 elementary school students, which could warrant a second virtual school.

Virtual schools are essentially supposed to mirror as much as possible the normal schooling format, with the exception of being online.

HWDSB plans to use its current teachers to teach those kids, but has applied for funding from the Ministry of Education to open a new school and bring on a new principal and secretary to meet those demands.

A larger number of online students will not lead to smaller in-person classes or more physical distancing in brick and mortar schools. In fact, schools with higher rates of students opting for online learning will likely need to surrender teachers to the online school instead of using the remaining teachers for in-person classes.

This comes as families in the public board must decide by Tuesday at noon whether they will enrol their children into in-person classes or online learning.

High schools, meanwhile, won't need a new virtual school to meet the demand for online learning.

However the board has also proposed a new $10.4 million plan to try and reduce physical class sizes in elementary schools, but that plan would not affect the size of online classes.

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.


Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.


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