Union concerned that Catholic teachers may have to teach in-class, online at the same time
KITCHENER -- The union representing Waterloo Region's Catholic teachers said some of them will be moved out of the classroom and into online learning after Thanksgiving weekend.
The union said impacted staff were told on Monday about the transition. They believe a memo from the board is signaling teachers to prepare for a pivot to virtual learning.
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board said 29 teachers have been reassigned to teach at the board's virtual school. They'll start on Tuesday.
The move will accommodate the more than 700 students who recently switched to virtual learning.
Amy Tuka gets to stay teaching her kindergarten class in-person, but said impacted teachers are still trying to figure things out.
"People who are going to St. Isidore have no idea what they are going to teach when they get there and the teachers left behind are like, well we are now going to have new students who started with someone else," Tuka said.
The president of the local Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, Patrick Etmanski, said to CTV News that he's concerned the local board may do what York Region's Catholic school board has decided to do.
They're moving to a hybrid model, where teachers are instructing students in class and online at the same time.
The move will impact 28 Catholic elementary schools. One school is losing two teachers.
"There's a lot of disruption within the brick and mortar schools as well when this happens because they have to rejig the whole school," Etmanski said.
In a statement to CTV News, the WCDSB director of education Loretta Notten said all classes are staffed at the current time.
"This is a new development and, as such, right now it is simply an active discussion," Notten's statement said.
They are still looking for 13 high school teachers to start in the second quadmester.
Etmanski said the province is forcing school boards to make some tough decisions.
Meanwhile, the region's public school board is moving up their deadline for secondary students to change their mode of learning.
Students had previously been given the okay to change from in-person learning to remote learning and vice-versa. The decision must now be made by Oct. 16 at 4 p.m., one week earlier than the previous deadline the board had set.
The board said it will allow schools to have time to finalize student timetables. Students will transition to their new learning environments—either in person or distance learning—on Nov. 16.