Toronto

TDSB postpones start of some online classes as e-learning demand surges

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.

Up to 30,000 students may not have a teacher assigned to their online class yet, board says

The TDSB says it needs to hire about 200 more teachers for online classes in the coming days. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

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.

In an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Tuesday, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said that the board is still trying to hire about 200 more teachers to accommodate the number of elementary students registered for online learning. 

That figure was high as 500 yesterday, he said.

Parents and students will have to log on to the board's online learning portal on Tuesday morning to find out if their lessons can get underway on schedule, something some parents are already having challenges with.

Bird said that the board expects between 20,000 and 30,000 students to begin lessons with a teacher today. The remainder will need to do independent lessons until a teacher is assigned to their class, he added.

So when will all elementary virtual learners have a teacher? Bird said the board hopes to have the issues sorted by the end of the week.

"It sounds like we're going to be getting some more [teachers] today. So it is looking very good," he said.

The board has been working "around the clock" to ensure all students who have opted for online learning will have a teacher assigned to their class soon, Bird added.

"We know this is not ideal. This has been frustrating for everyone involved."

With files from The Canadian Press

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