TORONTO — The Toronto District School Board is once again apologizing to parents and guardians for not assigning all elementary students with a teacher for online classes.
On Tuesday, the board said it completed hiring English teachers and expected them to be in contact with students Friday, a goal the board was unable to meet.
In a letter sent to families Friday night, the board said about six per cent (approximately 2,500) of students are still not in class nor do they have a teacher.
One of those students is Christina Dean’s eight-year-old son Noah, who opted for online learning due to his medical condition.
“Everyday it’s, ‘Mum, do I have teacher?’ and every day it’s the same answer. Dean told CTV News Toronto. “I’m tired of disappointing my eight year old.”
Dean said the lack of interaction with other students and learning is affecting her son’s mental health.
“They’re bored. They’re very bored. They need structure. They need their friends even if it is just remotely, and they need some sort of education. I’m not a geometry teacher,” she said.
TDSB students learning in-person returned to school mid-September. Virtual school began on Sept. 22.
Dean says despite receiving emails from the board every two or three days, she hasn’t received a concrete date on when her son can start school.
“It’s a big delay and with no end in sight, it’s hard to know what’s going on. How do we plan for this?” asked Dean.
In a letter from the TDSB, the board said it understands how “disappointing” the delay can be.
“While there are a number of factors making this task incredibly challenging, we also want to recognize and acknowledge the impact this delay has had on students and families,” the letter reads.
“We are sorry that it has taken so long to get students set up in a classroom with a teacher and are doing everything possible to continue to place teachers so that learning can begin.”
Late last week the TDSB said it hired about 400 teachers for remote learning and was working to bring on 100 more after a surge in demand because of COVID-19. At that time, the board asked for patience and apologized to families.
On Tuesday, the board issued a statement that said all English teachers had been hired and that it takes about two days for training and teachers should be in contact with students on Friday.
The TDSB said it will be working through the weekend to ensure all students have a teacher for the upcoming week.
“This is beyond frustrating because there is no end in sight and as someone who does not work from home, I would like to know when I can get my children situated into their new normal,” Dean said.
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