Edmonton Catholic students, parents must make learning decision for remainder of school year

Parents with students enrolled in the Edmonton Catholic School Division are being asked to make a decision about their children’s learning for the remainder of the school year.

The school division announced Monday that parents have until Oct. 15 to choose between online learning or in-school learning for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.

Originally, the school division told families there would be four opportunities throughout the school year to choose between in-school and online learning. However, the school division said Monday it needs to adjust the initial plan, partly due to the fact the division is experiencing a “shortage of qualified Catholic teachers, especially in specialized programs, as school jurisdictions across the province are all hiring additional teachers.”

“In discussion with our administrators, teachers and in hearing from our departmental support staff, the reconfiguring of staffing and scheduling three more times this academic year would place a tremendous strain on available resources and may have a negative impact on student learning,” chief superintendent Robert Martin said in a media release Monday morning.

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Read more: Coronavirus: 28% of Edmonton students enrolled in online school

The school division said the decision was not made lightly.

“Having clearly heard the voice of our teachers and support staff, as well as community stakeholders, like parents and students, we feel it is prudent to make this change,” deputy superintendent Tim Cusack said in the media release.

Read more: Edmonton school divisions lay out online learning plans for those not returning to school

Families enrolled within Edmonton Catholic schools will have access to a link in PowerSchool beginning Monday to make their learning decisions. Decisions must be submitted by Oct. 15 and all staffing and scheduling adjustments will be in place for the start of the second quarter on Nov. 10, the school division said.

“Our goal is to be as minimally disruptive as possible to the continuity of teaching and learning for both students and staff,” Martin said. “Our hope is that, given the circumstances and challenges we are facing, parents will understand why we are reducing the number of opportunities to make a change in learning option to only one more opportunity.”

About 28 per cent of Edmonton Catholic students were registered for online learning for the first term of the school year.

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