Friday Deadline for Online Learning 2022-23 at UCDSB

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This article has been edited to correct an error in the title.

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BROCKVILLE — Families attending Upper Canada District School Board schools have less than a week to decide whether they will choose in-person or online learning for the 2022-2023 school year.

On March 4, UCDSB notified families of the March 14 10 a.m. deadline to choose how they will go to school next year.

UCDSB Superintendent of Schools Susan Rutters told The Leader the short delay is due to the Department of Education.

“We have just received details from the ministry on what is required for remote learning for the 2022-23 school year,” she said, explaining that school boards are moving away from the hybrid model. .

Under the hybrid model, students can attend in person or connect remotely to an in-person class within their home school.

The hybrid model is more expensive to operate and has implications for education union contracts, all of which expire in August 2022.

Rutters explained that the board is moving to dedicated online teachers for K-8 remote learning, and the board needs student numbers to plan staffing.

“Staffing is a complex process for school boards,” she said. “We need to allocate staff based on the expected number of students, which is directly related to our budget.”

Rutters added that due to collective agreements with education unions, the board has a deadline for staff placements. “Hence the short registration window,” she said.

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UCDSB’s new learning model will see K-8 students have a dedicated remote learning teacher, but the online classroom can include students from many school zones.

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“It won’t necessarily be a teacher from the same school the student would attend in person,” Rutters said.

Students in grades 9-12 attending UCDSB distance learning in 2022-23 will have a very different experience than the past two school years. The school board has been using the Ontario eLearning Consortium for courses for several years. These courses are open to students across the province, so it may not be a local teaching a specific course.

“If a student wants a certain course, but there are not enough other UCDSB students who have chosen that course, they can enroll in that course if it is offered in another board school,” she said.

In addition to the short registration window, there are many restrictions for switching between in-person and online learning for the upcoming school year.

Students in grades K-8 must remain in their chosen learning method until the end of the first term in February 2023. The same restriction is in place for students in grades 9-12.

Students also do not have the opportunity to change in the five and a half months between March 14 and the start of the 2022-23 school year in early September.

Rutters explained that the board cannot reserve in-person and online spaces for the same student. For high school students, course selection also plays a role, as not all courses are available at all UCDSB schools.

She said that currently, students must stay with the model of their choice by March 14.

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“We understand that it can be difficult for families to look this far into the future, but we need to make sure we have the right staff in place,” Rutters said. “It is in our students’ interest to transition at the start of a new semester.”

Ron Ferguson, director of education at UCDSB, said the board may have to revert to remote learning in the event of another wave of COVID-19, but that won’t affect those already following the online learning this school year.

Families who wish to learn remotely in the fall have until March 14 to register through the UCDSB website.

— The Chief of Morrisburg

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