Ontario rolls out home learning program in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
With Ontario students expected to be home for at least two more weeks (and the government is not ruling out a longer break) to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the province is rolling out the first phase of its home learning program.
Today, Premier Doug Ford joined Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, to launch the first phase of Learn at Home and Apprendre a la maison, a new online portal that will help students continue their education while schools are closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
“As a father myself, I know parents always want the best for their children, and I also know from speaking to parents that many are concerned that their child is going to fall behind while schools are closed during this difficult period,” said Ford in a statement.
“To support families and students, our government has developed a one-stop spot for at-home learning. It doesn’t replace school, but offers a great alternative as we approach the end of March Break.”
The province says Learn at Home offers students math and literacy resources created by Ontario-certified educators, in both English and French.
Elementary resources are designed to help young students learn at home with interactive activities that encourage participation through entertaining and stimulating digital content. High school content was designed with a focus on STEM courses and ensure core competencies and skills are reinforced.
“The Learn at Home initiative will help mitigate ‘learning loss’ during this period of uncertainty,” said Lecce in a statement.
“Our plan will provide interactive teacher-led math supports to keep students learning and empower all students to learn key skills with an emphasis on STEM education, while also arming parents with resources to support them as their kids learn at home.”
The province says the Ministry of Education is working with TVO and TFO to roll-out robust education programming on their broadcast channels, with a phased-in approach commencing next week. Parents should note that TVO Kids offers educational programing throughout the day for school-aged children.
The at-home activities offered by Learn at Home provide quick and easy access to some of Ontario’s best online kindergarten to grade 12 learning resources produced by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) Educators.
The province says it’s working closely with education stakeholders to develop a plan for scaling and building additional online learning programs as needed.
For students who do not have access to a computer, work is underway, in conjunction with school boards, to provide the necessary technology to everyone who needs it.
The province says bilingual materials on Learn at Home will continue to be added on a regular basis to provide new and compelling content throughout this period.
Other learning programs, such as Ontario’s Virtual Learning Environment, are being further developed to provide enhanced learning options.
The province says Mathify provides real-time homework help led by OCT educators for students between grades 6-10, six days a week, including weekdays from 9 AM ET - 9 PM ET. The government worked in concert with TVO to expand Mathify beyond the existing grades 7-10, to now include grade six.
Eureka! is another online learning support program that helps students in French-language schools from grades 1 to 12 with their school work and their learning.
Ontario public schools will be closed from March 14 through to April 5, 2020, in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Similarly, private schools and licensed child care centres will also be closed until April 5, 2020.
EQAO assessments for the 2019-20 school year have been cancelled, including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy test. The literacy requirement for students graduating in the 2019-20 school year has also been waived.
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