Public school board chair suggests delaying start of school year
OTTAWA -- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee and board chair Lynn Scott says she wants the Ontario government to give school boards a little more time to work out back to school plans.
Speaking on CTV Morning Live on Tuesday, Scott said a delayed start to the year would be her message to Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
"I would be saying probably give us time," Scott said. "The minister has made it fairly clear he's prepared to be fairly flexible about staggered start times at the beginning of the school year, but there has been no indication yet that the start of the school year would be delayed."
Scott said things are changing daily.
"We have a great staff team who are working on this and we really appreciate the patience and questions from parents but we're getting different information from the ministry on a pretty regular basis," she said. "We only heard about the remote learning expectations and clear guidelines late last week and we're still waiting to hear about the precise details of the public health protocols."
This comes as the OCDSB works to revise its back-to-school plan for secondary students, after parents learned students would be in class for only about 25 per cent of the school day.
Scott said it's looking likely that the OCDSB will shift to a full-day model.
"The high school program will, I expect, be a full-day of in-person instruction rather than the half-day of in-person at school and half at home, which we had originally planned for secondary," she said.
The OCDSB said it would deliver its updated plan later this week.
"For the elementary, there are still a lot of details to work through. There's still a lot of concerns about all of the different precautions we have," Scott said. "Parents would like to know how many kids there are going to be in the class. Are their kids going to have the same teacher? How is remote learning going to work? There are many questions."
Scott says she expects separate teachers for remote learning.
"It just isn't feasible in most of our classrooms to set up a remote component so that the student would be with the same classmates," she said. "However, one thing that is really important for us is to try to make every child who is learning in a remote session is actually still connected to their home school so that if and when they change to go back to in-person learning, they have that connection."
Scott said the board is planning to have some additional teaching staff to cover remote learning, but some teachers who may not be teaching in school, as they would in a normal year, can also be reassigned to remote learning duties.