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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The TDSB starts online learning in Toronto today but everything is a total mess

Online learning for elementary TDSB students whose parents chose not to send them to school in person begins today, but not everyone has actually been assigned a teacher just yet. 

Yesterday afternoon around 5 p.m., the Toronto District School Board announced that, despite the fact that virtual school was set to begin in less than 24 hours, a portion of students would not actually be assigned a teacher by Tuesday morning due to overwhelming demand. 

"As many of you know, there has been an overwhelming demand for virtual learning and more than 60,000 students are now enrolled in the Elementary Virtual School," the school board said in a statement

"While it was our plan to have all students start the year with synchronous (live, interactive) learning on the first day, we have determined that this will not be possible for some students due to ongoing efforts to hire staff for virtual classrooms. However, in order to ensure that all students can still begin learning on Tuesday morning, we will be implementing a rolling start."

Students who've yet to be assigned an instructor can instead start independent learning today, but many parents are growing more frustrated by the day as this is not the first time that online schooling has been delayed so far this year.

"We know that this will be a disappointment for some and is not how we had hoped to begin the school year," said the TDSB. 

"Please let me assure you that efforts to hire more teachers have been ongoing and staff have been working around the clock and through the weekend to keep things moving forward. You will be notified as soon as your child's class has been assigned a teacher."

Parents and students are being instructed to sign on to Brightspace to see if there is a welcome message from a teacher. If no welcome message appears upon signing in, that means students don't yet have a teacher and can instead begin online learning. 

But some families are experiencing issues just getting on to Brightspace in the first place, with many taking to social media to report issues with login info and passwords.

Others, while frustrated, are meanwhile refraining from blaming the TDSB for the disorganization and are instead placing blame on Premier Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce for a lack of funding and leadership.

In an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Tuesday, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said that the board needed to hire roughly 500 more teachers as of yesterday, but that number is now down to about 200. 

Bird said the TDSB hopes to be able to hire the remaining teachers by the end of the week. 

by Mira Miller via blogTO

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