Ottawa public high school students can expect pandemic-style hybrid classes again next fall: report – Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa public high school students can expect pandemic-style hybrid classes again next fall: report – Ottawa Citizen

Plans are being made for a 2021-22 that will resemble, in many respects, this school year.

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Students at Ottawa’s largest school board can expect many pandemic precautions to still be in place next fall, including part-time in-person classes for high school students, according to a staff report.

Plans are being made for a 2021-22 school year that will resemble, in many respects, this one, with students remaining with one class as much as possible and virtual schools still in operation.

The Ontario Ministry of Education has not provided much guidance, except to emphasize the importance of keeping schools open and advising boards to plan for students to attend in-person, said the report to be considered by trustees Tuesday.

Secondary students at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board can expect a return of the hybrid schedule and quadmesters in the fall of 2021, said the report, although changes may be made later in the school year depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Under the hybrid model, classes are split in half, with students in each cohort attending in person every other day and studying online at home the other day. Students take two courses at a time in a quadmester. (Except for two schools that have octomesters and study only one course at a time.) The purpose of those changes made this year was to make classes smaller and limit mixing among students.


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The report said the board supports returning to the regular high school schedule of full-time, in-person classes and two semesters a year.

“Once provincial direction and advice from Ottawa Public Health supports the removal of cohorting, daily attendance and/or a return to the regular semester format, we will look to implement those changes as quickly as possible.”

Virtual schools will continue for both elementary and secondary students next year.

However, far fewer elementary students will attend virtually, the report said.

This year, Ontario parents were allowed the choice of having their children attend school remotely at home. About 20 per cent of families of the 75,000 students at the Ottawa-Carleton District School board chose that option.

However, most students flourish better in class, the report said.

“Attending school in-person is important to learning and well-being, and students are more engaged in their learning when they can interact with their teachers and peers and build supportive relationships.”

Elementary virtual schools next year will be “intended for students for whom online learning better meets their learning needs and for students who need to continue with virtual learning due to underlying medical conditions for themselves or for family members,” the report said.

Virtual school class sizes will be larger in order to keep in-person classes smaller. For instance, kindergarten classes will be at 29 students and primary grades at 23 students, the maximum numbers allowed. Virtual students in grades 4 to 8 can expect classes of between 28 and 35 students next year.


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Virtual students will not be given the choice of the middle French immersion or alternative programs.

And students should not expect to be able to switch between virtual and in-person school easily next year.

“Virtual school registration is for the full year,” said the report. “After the start of the year, moves will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis, but are not guaranteed.”

At bricks-and-mortar elementary schools, classes of students next fall will once again remain together as much as possible to limit mixing among students. Specialty teachers will move between classrooms.

The report doesn’t mention whether school assemblies, clubs, bands, field trips, sports and extracurricular activities will resume, but says “our goal will be to resume regular operations incrementally and as it is safe to do so.”

The board will also continue to be ready to shift students to virtual learning depending on the COVID-19 situation and will maintain the ability to quickly trace the contacts of anyone at school who tests positive for the virus.

The board expects to provide parents with more details by the end of February.

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has already announced that it plans to operate three permanent virtual schools next year for students who learn best online. The schools are intended to be a permanent option and are not a temporary stop for students who want to return to in-person class, said the board.

The deadline for applying is Feb. 25.


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Published at Mon, 22 Feb 2021 22:26:37 +0000

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