Changes coming to secondary schools in Mississauga

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The Peel District School Board (PDSB), which oversees public schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, just announced that secondary school students might see some changes as more students make the shift to remote learning. 

"To accommodate for enrolment shifts, there will be some upcoming changes required as we prepare for students to move into their new learning models on Nov. 18, 2020," the board wrote in a letter to families. 

While no major changes are planned for elementary schools (where about 57 per cent of students are learning online), the board says that some schools will need to undergo a re-organization to accommodate for changes in class sizes and staffing. 

As far as high schools go, the board says a bigger shakeup is forthcoming due to significant migration from in-person to virtual learning. 

According to the board, about 45 per cent of students have opted for online learning—up from 27 per cent earlier in the school year. 

"Our current PDSB Online School structure cannot support this increase in enrolment. With a decrease of in-person learning, our physical secondary schools also won’t have enough students to offer a full breadth of courses for Quadmester 2," the board says, adding that it will move to a new hybrid learning model in grades 9 to 12, effective Nov. 18.

The board says students will continue to attend classes through their chosen learning model (online or adaptive), but they will all be taught simultaneously by the same teacher from their home school.

"This hybrid model will bring more flexibility and stability to our system as the pandemic evolves and as families adjust their learning model choice. It will reduce the need for further reorganizations this school year, and will also allow us to offer a wider range of courses and programs to secondary students…whether students are learning from home or at school," the letter reads.

"Over time, this model will also re-establish relationships among those in the local school community and help build a sense of community, which is integral to students, staff and families, especially during the pandemic."

The board says that over the next few weeks, secondary schools will rebuild their course timetables to incorporate online learners. The PDSB says the new timetables will be built using student course requests on file and will be sent to students on Nov. 13. 

The board says each classroom will be equipped with the necessary technology, including a camera and microphone. Teachers will have the option to direct the camera at themselves or share a screen with voice communication.

In cases where the educator cannot teach in person, due to a personal medical or family status accommodation, the class will be taught fully online.

The board says information about privacy and security will be released soon. 

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