Toronto school board aims to have teachers for all virtual students by mid-to-late next week

TORONTO — Canada’s largest school board is now saying that some elementary students may not have a teacher for their online classes until mid-to-late next week.

In a statement posted to their website on Thursday, the Toronto District School Board apologized for the ongoing staffing delay for their virtual school.

“This is a challenging situation and we understand that families are becoming increasingly frustrated as the days pass,” the TDSB said in a statement. “We continue to work as quickly as possible and are moving forward but it is taking much longer than expected.”

“We simply cannot hire teachers fast enough to meet the demand for virtual learning, a difficulty that other school boards in Toronto and across Ontario have also faced.”

Remote learning for elementary students officially began on Tuesday, but the night before the TDSB said that not all classes have been assigned teachers. Families were expected to log into the virtual platform and at that point they would learn if their children would be participating in live instruction or if their education would begin with “asynchronous (independent) learning.”

The TDSB said it was about 500 teachers short for remote learning after a surge in demand due to rising COVID-19 numbers. The school board rushed to fill the positions, hiring hundreds of new staff members within a 24-hour period.

However, in their update on Thursday, the board said that it still needs to hire about 100 new teachers.

“We can assure you that if you are receiving this email update, your child will soon be in a virtual classroom with a teacher assigned. For some, this will happen as early as tomorrow and we expect to have all teachers hired and remaining classrooms up and running by mid-to-late next week,” the TDSB statement reads.

“Again, this is not the timeline that any of us wanted or anticipated and we recognize that families are understandably upset. We most sincerely appreciate your continued patience as we work to meet our shared goal of having virtual classes underway for all TDSB students.”

The TDSB said that once a teacher is hired, they have to complete two-days’ worth of training on the virtual platform Brightspace.

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