Hamilton Public Board faces virtual school delays due to growing student demand

Christina Hayes waited a week, but on Tuesday her three-year-old daughter finally had her first kindergarten class.

Hayes said it was a relief considering how many delays have occurred.

“I’m very frustrated…the lack of information, constantly pushing things further…we don’t want her to fall behind,” her mother, Christina, told CBC on Monday.

“I just want her to start learning.”

Other families are still waiting as the end of September approaches.

Some of the Hamilton Public School Board‘s virtual classes have still not started due to increasing numbers of students signing up for the online alternative as cases of COVID-19 emerge in local schools. High school students do not have a virtual school.

Here’s more back-to-school coverage:

In a letter to parents on Monday, the council said all classes would be in place by Friday. This means a first point of contact with teachers – and in the best case, a first class.

“Due to the huge demand for remote learning, it is taking longer than expected to build the remote day school classrooms, hire and prepare teachers, and begin the teaching and learning process. “, reads the letter from the principals of the virtual school of Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

“This has forced us to revise our learning schedules for all students. We have made progress over the weekend to resolve some of the staffing issues and students will start their course once a teacher is available. available and ready to start.”

On September 18, another letter to families noted that more than 2,000 students have switched to online learning (from 6,300 students at the end of August to around 8,700 students on Monday). To accommodate, the board had to hire and train more teachers.

The board had previously said classes would be ready by last Wednesday.

INTERACTIVE | Use this map to find COVID-19 cases in local schools

Jeff Sorensen, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local Union, told CBC Tuesday morning that he’s also heard about the challenges of virtual school.

“We’ve been here three and a half weeks into the month and we’re still worried there’s little learning going on,” he said.

“Some classes have managed to take off, others less so.”

Bill Torrens, HWDSB’s superintendent of student success and programs, told CBC they had to create the virtual school in about three weeks as more students signed up and increased demand. new educators and classes.

“Putting it all together, the work has just been slower than expected,” he explained on Tuesday afternoon.

“More than half of the teachers who showed up for the day are teaching, but we are understaffed, there are hiring going on right now.”

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) again delays online learning

Ashley St John talks to Dianne Buckner about the postponement and what it means for her blended family. 6:58

Each staff member needs two or three days of training in addition to going through the technology and human resources processes. Still, Torrens apologized and students in virtual schools will be caught up with in-person learners.

“We apologize for the delays and certainly the reach and demand for the remote school was greater than we anticipated…we ask for their patience and understanding,” he said.

“I want to reassure parents that we will be supporting our educators in learning. Our focus has been to focus on literacy and numeracy to ensure these fundamentals are addressed and we will be adding other subjects as the semester progresses.

Despite the challenges, Hayes said her daughter’s first day of school wasn’t perfect, but seemed to be going well.

“Trying to coordinate everyone knowing when to turn your microphone on and off and the video took a while. Then one of the teachers, his microphone wasn’t working for some reason,” she explained.

“Overall it’s going well.”

Attention Parents, Students and Teachers: We want to hear from you!

We hope you’ll use this form to tell us about school conditions, course progress, or any other pressing issues that concern you in September in Hamilton, Niagara, St. Catharines, and Burlington.

Perry A. Thomasson