GECDSB backs away from 'hybrid' learning for secondary students, will offer separate virtual instruction

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About 600 GECDSB students in Grades 9 to 12 have chosen virtual learning for the upcoming year, along with about 1,400 in elementary school. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)
About 600 GECDSB students in Grades 9 to 12 have chosen virtual learning for the upcoming year, along with about 1,400 in elementary school. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)

Secondary teachers in the English public school board in Windsor-Essex won't be teaching in-person and remote students at the same time this fall, the board has announced.

The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) abandoned plans to introduce so-called hybrid learning to accommodate students who are choosing to learn from home.

The school board says that a virtual learning experience will be in place for those students.

"Families who opted out of in-person learning will receive more details soon," the board said in a tweet on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the board said that the hybrid model would have only gone ahead if there wasn't enough interest to warrant a full virtual high school, but there were more than enough students looking to learn from home.

In the public board, about 600 students in Grades 9 to 12 have chosen virtual learning for the upcoming year.

The hybrid learning plan was met with criticism from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF).

"OSSTF was adamantly opposed to hybrid learning ... because it really is two jobs," said Erin Roy, OSSTF district 9 president.

Under the hybrid learning model, students who are present in the classroom are taught simultaneously with those at home tuning in to a web cam.

Roy said the model requires the teacher to divide their attention and provide two different types of instruction at the same time.

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