The Calgary Board of Education is reopening registration for its online learning option because of the continued uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school board originally closed registration for CBe-learn on April 23 and didn't plan to allow further registrations.
"Prior to releasing our re-entry plan, we've heard from parents who wanted to explore online options. And then with that plan coming up, we've also heard more from parents," said education director Mike Nelson.
"So we decided to provide a bit of an opening, an opportunity for some of those families who may see this as being a suitable learning approach for their children."
Registration will reopen from Aug. 23 to 27. Students who were already registered with CBe-learn will start classes on time. Those registering late will begin either Sept. 7 or 13, depending on how long it takes to process their transfer.
"We're going to need a little bit of time to shift staff. But the families that registered in April, that complement of teachers was all part of our spring staffing. So we have teachers in place," said Nelson.
Last year, the CBE had 14,000 students complete the school year online through its Hub model. It allowed students to learn online with a teacher from their home school, but it required a lot of participation from a parent or guardian.
The board also saw a huge jump in registration for CBe-learn, a fully online schooling option.
"We've had CBe-learn for almost 20 years.… Pre-pandemic, we would usually have about 450 to 600 full-time students, and each semester probably 12,00 part-time high school students," said Nelson.
But in 2020, and again this year, CBe-learn had nearly 2,000 students register full-time.
"This is a significant increase in the number of students, and pre 2020, CBe-learn was offered to students in Grades 6 to 12. And last year we changed that to 1 to 12. So we're seeing a fairly large expansion," he said.
Nelson said the CBE isn't expecting a large influx of students by opening up registration again for CBe-learn. But he said if that's the case, there are plenty of teachers available.
"We have teachers that worked in the Hub that currently don't have positions, and we might be able to tap some of them there that have a pretty strong skill set of working online," he said.