WRDSB handling around 1,000 requests to change learning mode
KITCHENER -- The Waterloo Region District School Board says it's currently handling around 1,000 requests from students and families wanting to change their mode of learning.
The school board said the requests are to move from in-person to distance learning and vice versa. However, most families are asking to switch into distance learning.
At a meeting on Monday night, board officials announced they’re going to reopen the opportunity to all families – and speed up the transition process.
"Given the number of requests we have from families, we believe it's in the best interest of students and in the best interest of creating stability in the system to do that sooner than later," associate director Lila Read said.
Elaine Fischer's two kids are back in the classroom this month -- one in high school and one in Grade 6.
"My daughter in elementary school loves it, she's back with her friends," Fischer said. "It's different, but she said at this point she doesn't even feel like she's wearing a mask anymore in class."
But, she's not ruling out a switch to distance learning.
"If we saw a huge increase like some of the bigger cities are seeing in the next couple of days, then I would definitely reconsider," Fischer said.
The school board said anyone with a child in elementary school wanting to switch modes should contact their child's principal by Friday, Sept. 25.
"It's important that we can accommodate students who are essentially in limbo," said Alana Russell with the WRDSB. "It's also important that we not exist in flux throughout the entire start of the school year."
The change comes after multiple cases of COVID-19 reported in classes in Waterloo Region.
"Everyone is really overwhelmed with what's happening and I fear that we are only at the start of it," said Greg Weiler, president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario Waterloo Region. "It's going to get worse before it gets better."
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board has reported one student with a positive COVID-19 test. That school board said families can request a learning mode switch up until Thanksgiving weekend. Elementary students will switch after that weekend and high school students can switch in November.