Windsor-Essex public school board sets new deadline to change learning mode

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Families in Windsor-Essex have been given more time to decide whether they want to change from remote learning to in-person classes — or vice versa — for the remainder of the school year.

The Greater Essex County District School Board says that for elementary students it has reopened the form to request a change to coincide with the planned reopening of schools, currently set for Feb. 10.

The forms are due on Jan. 26. No action is required for families that want to stick with the current model of learning or those who have previously requested a change, the school board said in a media release.

After this window, no changes can be made to whether a child learns from home or at school for the rest of the school year.

Originally, parents with children in the public board were supposed to have made a decision in early January but the deadline was extended. At that time, some parents expressed concern over the difficulty of making a decision given the current status of the pandemic.

Local schools have been closed since the week before the holiday break, with students currently learning from home at all grade levels. Some special education classes are still in-person.

It remains unclear whether the province will extend the closure past early February.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said Friday he has not had any direct discussions with the province regarding the reopening or closure of schools.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says it has suspended its deadlines to change instruction delivery indefinitely.

"Before setting new deadlines, we are waiting further direction from the Ministry of Education regarding school openings," board spokesperson Stephen Fields said in an email.

Once new dates are established, parents will be informed a new declaration form will be made available, he said.