Toronto school board delays virtual classes until Sept. 22 | CBC News

The Toronto District School Board has postponed the start of its virtual schooling until Sept. 22, citing growing numbers of online students.

The board says it needs to finish staffing and timetabling processes. 

Canada’s largest school board, which was slated to start online learning on Thursday, said Monday that the number of online students has gone from approximately 66,000 to more than 72,000 since last Tuesday.

This resulted in the addition of more than 200 virtual classes, which all require a teacher. 

“Right now, we’re calling on our occasional teachers, our supply teachers, to see if they’re available,” said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. 

Bird says as cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, the school board is already seeing an increase in people wanting to switch to virtual school.

“We have nearly 250,000 students in the TDSB and now more than 72,000 of them are taking part in virtual school. The staffing process for the bricks and mortar schools alone is difficult given the current reality and the timelines we’re working with … It really is a complex process.”

The board’s interim director of education, Carlene Jackson, sent out a memo to parents Monday notifying them of the delay.

“It became clear over the weekend, especially with increasing numbers, staffing a Virtual School of this size — larger than the total enrolment of most school boards in Ontario — was not going to be possible in time for Thursday,” the memo said. 

The TDSB said this delay will also allow students and families to set up their online accounts and familiarize themselves with the platform. This delay will also apply to students in Special Education ISP classrooms.

The board said it will share additional information with families in the following days.

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