Ottawa Catholic School Board vows students won't fall behind despite hiccups with online learning
OTTAWA -- In day two of the Ottawa Catholic School Board's virtual learning school, some students still aren't able to log on.
The board is asking parents for their patience as it works out technical problems with the virtual program.
Seven-year-old Bray Martin still hasn't been assigned a teacher, his mom says.
"8 o'clock came, 9 o'clock came, 10 o'clock came, nothing," says Jennifer Demers.
Demers opted for virtual learning for Bray because of a medical condition. He's one of nearly 6,500 students are enrolled in the OCSB's virtual program.
However, around five per cent of kids scheduled to start on the first day were unable to connect.
"With 95 per cent returning and going well, that still leaves hundreds of students who weren't contacted," OCSB Director of Education Tom D'Amico said on Tuesday.
The board citing glitches as one of the reasons for its online delay.
"For parents with young children, the log-ins, the passwords, the e-mails that may bounce back," says Andrea Green, virtual school principal.
Other issues include administration; new teachers; and connecting students from different home schools into the same virtual class.
However, Demers says she received an email from the OCSB saying they were still working on assigning teachers.
"Thank you for your continued patience as we sort out this process of assigning teachers to classes," the email reads, in part. "Please be assured that your child will not fall behind, as this beginning of the school year is about getting to know you, establishing routines and gaining comfort with online tools. Both in class and online teachers are taking it slow this week as we adjust to this exceptional school year. No formal curriculum is being taught this week."
The board has previously said this week was intended for troubleshooting any issues, but Demers thinks otherwise.
"They're not telling the public they don't have enough teachers. It's not just technical issues, it's not just parents putting in the wrong e-mail addresses that are not being connected," she said.
It's a claim the board denies.
"Everybody who signed up for virtual learning and is signed on definitely has a classroom and a teacher," Green says.
By now, parents of students in kindergarten through Grade 3 should have been contacted.
But some parents, like Paul Marlow, say they're still waiting.
"Nobody has ever responded to emails and there's no phone number to call for the virtual program, so you're stuck just e-mailing and basically waiting for a response," he said.