570 TDSB teachers moving from in-person to online teaching as part of major reorganization
324 schools to lose at least 1 teacher as board makes significant changes
Weeks into an academic year wrought with disruptions and delays, some elementary students in the Toronto District School Board are about to see even more changes.
The board said late Tuesday that it is undertaking a massive reorganization that will see about 570 elementary teachers reassigned from in-person classes to virtual teaching.
That means 324 schools will lose at least one teacher, with many of those losing up to four. And students currently enrolled in in-person classes across the board will be moved into different classes with different teachers just week after beginning the new school year.
Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the board, said the changes were necessary because there are thousands of students who opted for virtual learning who still have not been assigned a teacher or a class.
"While I understand it is a challenge for students and their families to have to change teachers at this time, it is really about making sure we support all students," Bird told CBC Toronto.
"We desperately need these teachers in our virtual school."
WATCH | Hundreds of Toronto teachers switch from in-person to virtual learning:
Nearly 80,000 students are currently enrolled in the virtual school, he added, and there are a number of in-person classes with far fewer students than the board's targeted class-size cap.
"While that may be ideal for those students and we understand that, we don't have enough funding to maintain a class size of potentially eight in a class that should have closer to 24 students in it," Bird said.
The board hopes that the moves will ensure that all students who have opted for virtual learning will have a teacher by next week.
While reorganizations two weeks into the academic year are routine procedure in school boards across the province, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated that this year's be far more reaching in size and scope than usual.
Still, about 100 schools will see no changes at all, while a handful will actually gain a teacher, Bird said.
As a result of the reorganization, families with children doing in-person learning should expect to see more split-grade classes this year, the board said in a letter detailing the changes that was posted online Tuesday evening.