Elementary students, teachers shifting classes as thousands move to online learning
KITCHENER -- Many elementary students in the Waterloo Region District School Board will have changes in their classroom this week.
More than 3,000 students switched from in-class learning to online classes, resulting in 119 teachers moving to online classes as well.
The reorganization to accommodate the shifting numbers means changes to in-person classes as well. Some classes will have new teachers and some students will move to new classes.
"Yes, one of our students, one of our boys is changing from one class to another class," parent Mohan Krishnan said. "I know it's a tough time, everybody has to understand that, but we accept that."
Kristina Llewellyn, an associate professor of social development studies at the University of Waterloo, said children need routine and relationships to thrive in their environment. She said changes at this point in the school year are unfortunate.
"Teachers have worked very hard to establish close relationships with their students to ensure they know their diverse needs and how they can structure to meet those needs," she said.
Llewellyn added students are already coping with a lot, including rules on distancing with their peers and learning what they're allowed to touch in the classroom.
"We do see an increase in anxiety for students, so whatever we can do to provide a sense of routine where it's predictable so they can follow them easily, I think that's really important," Llewellyn said.
As families navigate the changes, Llewellyn said it's helpful to talk through what the changes will look like.
"Also to really comfort students so they know whatever teacher they have, those teachers will do their very best to make sure they will have a good learning experience, no matter what the mode of learning is going to be," she said.
Students impacted by the changes have been notified directly by their schools.