The Toronto District School Board, Canada’s largest school board, will see the majority of its student body return in the fall for face-to-face classes amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 fueled by the Delta variant.
The board, which required parents and guardians to choose whether their children attended learning in person or a virtual option, had a registration deadline of August 12.
Results from the online registration showed that 86 percent of students who registered for the meeting online reported that they will attend classes in person when classes begin in September, according to data released by the TDSB on Tuesday.
Several Ontario school boards have required students to register and choose between virtual and in-person learning models in the past two weeks. Many had to choose within days after the Ministry of Education announced its back-to-school guidelines, which included allowing extracurricular activities.
The Star asked several GTA school boards last week about their learning models. Some, including the TDSB, had not yet determined whether a hybrid model would be used as they said they were waiting to see how many students sign up for classes online.
Now, with the registration data available, the TDSB has stated in their updated plan that they will use “concurrent learning” for high school students and it will be used for elementary students in “exceptional” circumstances.
Hybrid learning involves a teacher addressing students in class and those online at the same time. It has been criticized by unions, educators and parents for its shortcomings, with many calling it ineffective. The boards have said that it allows students to switch between in-person and virtual learning while maintaining their home school and learning alongside their peers.
The TDSB does not allow students to change learning modes until February.
The imminent return to school also comes as children born after 2009 remain ineligible for vaccination. On Tuesday, the province announced that it would open appointments for any child turning 12 this year, when appointments were previously limited in many health units to 12 years or older.
Ontario’s chief medical officer for health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said at a news conference Tuesday that the province is implementing a vaccination policy for teachers alongside other public employees to prepare for a possible surge in COVID cases. -19.
“We are aggressively preparing for the fall. I’m sorry to say that I think it will be a difficult fall and winter, ”he said.
Ontario’s seven-day average is currently 473 daily cases, or 22.7 weekly per 100,000, including 2.7 deaths per day.
An analysis by Star released Tuesday indicated that the vast majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario are not fully vaccinated.
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