We are beginning to think ahead to the 2021-2022 school year and would like to provide an update on our planning.
Through feedback, families have shared that priorities included:
children being connected to their home school
the ability to switch more readily when required between remote learning and in-person learning
access to continuity of remote learning when necessary
With these and other factors taken into consideration, we are planning to implement a hybrid model of learning for elementary and secondary schools for 2021-2022. Through this model, families will continue to have the ability to opt for in-person or remote learning, and placement for all students will be in their home school. This means that students attending face-to-face and students attending remotely will be taught simultaneously by the same educators.
Where numbers warrant and when operationally feasible, in some schools, some classes may begin in a fully face-to-face or fully virtual format; all classes however have the potential of being hybrid. In secondary, we may be continuing with an adaptive model, if required, based on Ministry of Education directives and Public Health requirements.
We know that you may have many questions regarding the implementation of the learning model for the 2021-2022 school year. While we don't have all the answers at this time, as we continue our planning and more information becomes available, we will provide regular updates. We will be reaching out to families during the summer to provide additional information about the learning models and request for you to indicate your preference for face-to-face or remote learning for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
The learning model will be hybrid. Families will have the ability to opt for in-person or remote learning connected to their home school. Both in-school learners and remote learners will be a part of their home school, be in the same class and taught simultaneously by the same educator. Remote learners will participate in the same curriculum experiences as in-school learners according to the same schedule. The same school hours will be followed by all students, regardless of whether they are engaging in learning at school or remotely.
The ministry has directed boards to provide options for families to learn through either a face-to-face mode (in-person) or a virtual model within the funding envelope received from the province. The hybrid model allows for flexibility and for students and families to choose their model for learning. This means that students attending face-to-face and students attending remotely will be taught simultaneously by the same educators. We will continue to follow public health guidelines in all our decision-making as the safety of our students is always our top priority as we work to engage students in the learning during these challenging times.
Virtual schools are very costly to run. Unlike this year, the Ministry has indicated that there will be no additional funding provided to operate separate virtual schools. Virtual schools also disconnect students and their families and staff from their home schools, and we’ve heard from families that maintaining a connection to their school is a priority.
Each school will determine the composition of classes based on the number of students who choose in-person and remote learning. Schools will work to limit the number of classes that will be hybrid. At times, a class can be completely face-to-face or remote, however, any class can become a hybrid class based on the changing needs of students and families
The hybrid model has numerous benefits including keeping remote learners connected to their home school with their friends and offering continuity of learning through a seamless transition from in-class learning to remote learning or vice-versa. All students receive the same classroom instruction from their teachers. Students will belong to a class in their school regardless of their chosen learning format. Students will be able to re-establish connections with their school and peers which we believe will promote positive mental health.
Students will learn the same curriculum and complete the same assignments, assessments and evaluations. Teachers will continue to differentiate instruction, assessment and evaluation to meet the needs of all students. Teachers have always planned learning experiences to incorporate whole group or smaller group teaching and whole class, small group and individual student support as follow-up. This will continue in the hybrid model. Our staff have taught online in the past and will continue to have opportunities for professional learning to support them.
Families and students will need to choose between either face-to-face learning and virtual learning models for the 2021-2022 school year. The timing of choosing a learning option will be communicated to families and students prior to the end of this school year.
We have received feedback throughout the year, through formal surveys and informal input from families. Families have indicated that their priorities include their children being connected to their home school, peers, teachers and supports. They have also shared the importance of the continuity of learning by being able to move between in-person learning and remote learning, as needed. The hybrid model allows us to incorporate this feedback, while at the same time work within the provincial funding framework.
At this time, we are reviewing the recently released directives from the Ministry of Education and beginning the process of developing for the following scenarios: 1) full day, every day face-to-face learning and 2) similar to 2020-2021, an adaptive model where classes will be cohorted and attend face-to-face every other day. Both models would provide for a hybrid approach.
We will be required to follow ministry and public health requirements as to whether or not an adaptive model will be implemented in September 2021. If we are required to begin the year in an adaptive model, we will have plans in place to pivot to full day, every day face-to-face learning once the requirement for an adaptive model is removed. We will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders and once we have further developed our plans, we will provide details to our families.
The safety and privacy of our students and families has and will continue to be one of our top priorities. Protecting student privacy in this age of technology has never been more important. School staff have been provided with, and are aware of guidelines, as they engage in learning with online platforms, tools and resources, in both physical and virtual classrooms, to ensure that personal information is protected.