Last chance for some Niagara students to switch back to in-person schooling

Friday is the deadline for switching some Niagara students back into in-person classrooms, for both school boards, but for different aged students.

Parents of DSBN students that miss tomorrow’s deadline won’t be able to switch their children until next spring. At Niagara Catholic, Friday is the deadline for high school students to switch.

Virtual school systems are still running and will continue for the entire 2020/2021 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with safety regulations being changed frequently by the Ontario gorvernment, many families who have chosen to keep their child at home might want to return them back to the classroom.

At the start of the fall semester, both school boards offered families flexibility by allowing some student segments to switch between in-person and online learning formats. Schools are allowing parents to make changes at specific times during the school year, but only if they submit a request.

Parents must submit forms on specific dates indicated by each school board to initiate the transition process for any returning student. Form submission dates have been instituted to allow schools to make arrangements and adapt to attendance fluctuations.

Submitting a form at the DSBN website is all that’s required to initiate the transition for elementary students.

Carolyn LoConte, communications officer for DSBN, said DSBN secondary school students don’t have to worry about submitting forms. “Secondary students follow an adaptive model, which means they rotate three days in school and two days online, and then two days in and three days online,” she said.

District School Board of Niagara

Once forms have been sent, DSBN parents are encouraged to keep their child in virtual learning until the appropriate organizational, staffing, and safety requirements are arranged. DSBN anticipates this will happen by Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The next date opportunity to transition DSBN elementary students will not be until Spring 2021.

Niagara Catholic District School Board

For elementary students attending Niagara Catholic schools, the next date to transition won’t be until Feb. 1, 2021. Forms to indicate a transition must be sent in start Jan. 11 through Jan 15 in 2021.

Niagara Catholic secondary schools, however, must submit a form by Friday, also, if they would like to transition between in-person and remote learning. The next date to submit will not be until Jan. 15, 2021.

Niagara Catholic has also modified its original plan for transitions. Originally, it was offering monthly opportunities, but that was too challenging for the schools to manage.

Camillo Cipriano, Niagara Catholic’s Director of Education, said that revising the plan will help schools plan better. Transitions will now go more smoothly for both students and staff. “Reducing the number of transition dates is required to provide appropriate time to plan for program delivery and staff schools appropriately,” said Cipriano.

Two-credit secondary courses, such as cooperative education and apprenticeship preparation courses that are offered virtually, were another reason for the change. “The new dates allow students to complete courses and achieve the two credits as planned,” he said.

Parents and guardians of secondary students who wish to transition their kids between in-person and online remote learning for the next available timeframe must complete a Secondary Student Transition Form