By Jenn Watt
A “significant reorganization” of classes was needed across the school board as administrators sought to make adjustments following shifts in student preferences for in-school or at-home learning, board trustees heard at their meeting Oct. 13.
“Back in August, we said that once parents had made the choice for their child, we were going to stay with those numbers and if you were in bricks-and-mortar schools you would stay there and if you were in Learn@Home you would stay there, but there was a significant increase in parent requests to want to move back and forth,” said Wes Hahn, director of education. “Some wanted to come back into schools and some wanted to move to Learn@Home, so we obviously wanted to open up and adhere to those requests to allow parents to make those changes, but in doing so, obviously it shifts the student body to different places and when that happens now we have to look where the teachers are.”
Class size guidelines played into decisions around staffing and accurate numbers of students in schools needed to be provided to the Ministry of Education.
Hahn pointed out that it is normal for schools to have some kind of reorganization happen in September when the discrepancy between anticipated student enrolment and actual numbers are brought into line.
As has been previously reported, the board will keep a waitlist of students who want to switch between at-home and in-school learning and intend to assess whether those changes can be made once a month. Secondary students, who are learning in an “octoblock” format – studying one class at a time rather than having many classes each day – may have their requests to switch assessed at the end of their octoblock.
“It’s not guaranteed, but you can imagine, as I said earlier, to do these grand reorganizations every month would not be possible. We would be moving and disrupting the system constantly,” Hahn said. “So, if we can make changes based on waiting lists and moving people back and forth without affecting class caps and averages and … collective agreements, we will do that.”