High schoolers opt to return to Halton public classrooms, more younger ones staying home

Published September 8, 2020 at 9:06 pm

About 29 percent of public elementary school students will stay home and learn virtually when classes resume next week, and 15 per cent of older students won’t be attending high school in person.

About 29 percent of public elementary school students will stay home and learn virtually when classes resume next week, and 15 per cent of older students won’t be attending high school in person.

As the clock ticks down towards the resumption of classes on Sept. 14, Halton District School Board (HDSB) numbers show that parents of younger students are opting to keep their children home for online learning during the pandemic, more so than older students.

HDSB chair Andrea Grebenc said although the numbers may fluctuate in the days ahead, the results indicate that most are ready to get back to school, especially high school students.

“It is difficult to say exactly the reasons why the numbers are coming in this way,” said Grebenc. “I think at the secondary level the students may feel there is a lower risk (of contracting COVID-19) and they will be better able to keep up academically if they attend classes in person.”

She believes both parents and students have faith in the system and understand the efforts taking place to keep everyone safe.

“We have tried to be as transparent as possible about what the plans are,” she said. “I think that shows and has helped with the decision making process.”

She said judging by her own family, children are anxious to get back into the routine of school and become part of the system once again, whether it be online or in the classroom.

Although a maximum effort of resources have been put into the return plan, Grebenc said she understands there is a lot of anxiety over the process but adds board administrators have been diligent in efforts to make any transition as smooth as possible.

For those returning to classes in person, Grebenc says she is confident all will go well if everyone does their part.

“We are all a part of this and we all have a part to play,” she says. “We all have to check for symptoms every day and make sure we aren’t taking any necessary risks. The board is doing everything we can and the community has to do the same.”

There are approximately 66,000 students expected in the HDSB system this year.

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