Online Learning Extended to Feb. 10 in Windsor-Essex


Once again, high school teachers in Windsor-Essex are going to have to have to make some adjustments due to COVID-19.

Catholic and public secondary school teachers had already planned to continue online learning until the first week of February to finish out the semester. The province said online learning would now continue until Feb 10 under the state of emergency announced Tuesday.

Joe Brannagan is the local secondary teacher president for the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association and says teachers will have now have to hold exams virtually.

"It's a tough part of the year to do it because traditional exams are out the door because you can't have in person learning and now we have to make adaptations on how we're going to evaluate everything that has been learned in this past quad," he says.

Brannagan wants to believe in-person learning will resume this year, but things don't look good and the province may have to make a tough call.

"As soon as that decision can be made and the government passes it on to teachers and on to boards so that the proper adjustments can be made," he added.

He says extending online learning in small increments just makes things tougher on teachers and students.

"It doesn't provide board or teachers with enough leeway to get into some type of change because if there's a change in schedule it could have an impact," says Brannagan.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 9 President Erin Roy says her membership will continue to do what needs to be done.

"Face to face is the preferred method and the best method for everyone, however, with the health situation we're all just going to have to do our part," she says.

Teachers and students will need to make some adjustments, according to Roy.

"Our students weren't returning until Feb. 3. Now that's obviously been extended until Feb. 10, so we're going to have to start the next semester online as well," she added.

Roy says special education staff will continue in-person learning with their students.

"You can understand that we have some teachers that are going in and support staff and there is some fear knowing that the situation is so dire in Ontario," she says.

The province will evaluate which regions can resume in-person after analyzing COVID-19 projections released on Jan. 20.

Both Brannagan and Roy acknowledge the importance of being in the classroom, but agree with the province's move to protect students and staff.