There are still a lot of questions about the 2020-2021 school year in Ontario. Everything from class sizes to school HVAC systems has to be re-examined in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health officials, students, and parents are all obviously concerned about the safety of schools in the new academic year, and the current reopening plans significantly alter the dynamics of in-person education delivery.
Secondary schools in Ontario can expect to see significantly reduced class sizes – the Ministry of Education has advised that classes will have an average of 15 students – and a rotating schedule with at least 50% of in-class instructional days.
There have already been staggered starts across the province, further confusing the situation. Despite the uncertainty, one thing remains clear: the most likely solution for the majority of Ontario school boards will be to maintain a hybridized form of class delivery — emphasizing a combination of in-person and online classes for this academic year.
This is an incredibly stressful time for a lot of students and parents. Students with pre-existing health issues may be unwilling to return to physical school, even with enhanced health and safety protocols. Fortunately, the provincial government is offering students the choice to continue their remote learning, so students have the choice to continue their education in an environment they find safe.
The Nuances of eLearning
For many students, remote learning will continue to be the main way of education delivery into the future. Outside of those students with health issues, many others will benefit from online high school courses in Ontario, especially as a number of people are poorly served by traditional, in-person schools, and those involved in extracurricular activities benefit from the flexibility allowed by online schooling.
Unfortunately, there can sometimes be a gulf of quality in the online education delivery space. Some teachers have struggled with learning new technologies, and have had great difficulty transferring their lessons into an online environment. They can’t provide the in-person assistance that they are used to, and consequently, students who struggle with certain topics can’t get the hands-on support they need.
This is why online virtual schools can be more effective than traditional day-schools. Remote learning is a very different beast; systems need to be designed that operate in radically different ways to traditional methods, so the right online virtual schools will train their teachers from day one to harness the power of eLearning rather than be intimidated by it.
Look for Teacher Support
Well-designed eLearning programs provide comprehensive teacher support to ensure that students get the in-person interaction they need. Many institutions have accredited guidance departments with online office hours that focus on keeping students on track.
One example of the opportunity in the online learning space is French immersion classes. Developing competency in Canada’s other official language is an extremely valuable skill, which opens a lot of doors to employment in Canada, and the Francosphere more generally.
Institutions with a history of delivering remote learning can provide resources and support to allow students to build their language proficiency and develop their speaking abilities.
When you work with an experienced online high school, lockdowns and quarantines do not have to interfere with your studies. In fact, many students may find that remote learning is more preferable considering their circumstances, and may make the shift online for life.
Do you have a student in elementary or high school in Ontario? Please share your concerns in the comment section.
You may be interested in reading, “How To Use Zoom: Etiquette, Tips and Best Practices“.