School boards notice trends in learning methods amid pandemic

Students wearing face masks in the classroom. (© Can Stock Photo / halfpoint)

Many high school students in the area are going to start learning from home next week while more elementary school students make the switch to face-to-face learning.

Parents and students within the public and Catholic school boards were recently given the option to switch learning methods from virtual to in-person, or vice versa. Schools had to be notified of the switch by October 22 so that the transfer could take effect on November 16.

The directors of education for both school boards revealed the results of that switch-over during a media briefing on Thursday.

Lambton-Kent District School Board Director of Education John Howitt said at the elementary school level, 135 students decided to go from face-to-face to virtual learning and 220 students opted to go from virtual to face-to-face learning.

Whereas at the high school level, 290 students chose to move from face-to-face to virtual learning and 90 students chose to move from virtual to face-to-face learning.

“In the elementary panel, that’s a net increase from virtual to face-to-face of 85 and in the secondary panel that’s a net increase of face-to-face to virtual of 200,” said Howitt. “Compared to other jurisdictions, we feel that that is very stable and that it’s really a demonstration of satisfaction around the programming that is being delivered.”

The Catholic school board noticed a similar trend in how elementary and high school students want to learn.

St. Clair Catholic District School Board Director of Education Deb Crawford said about 60 elementary school students chose to move from virtual to in-class learning and only about 30 students chose to switch from in-class to virtual learning. At the secondary level, Crawford said 40 high school students chose to switch from virtual learning to in-class learning and 60 students chose to go from in-class to virtual learning.

“So the net gain and loss was not terribly significant at the schools,” she said.

Whether students are learning from home or at school, Crawford said there will be an emphasis this month on online security, privacy, and safety.

“It aligns with next week which is identified as Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week,” said Crawford. “[There will be] a number of events and activities that focus on kindness and strategies to prevent bullying in our schools and in all of our virtual schools.”

The LKDSB will also be participating in Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week to prevent bullying in any form and encourage students to report incidents of bullying to a staff member or parent.