Pandemic Impact on Enrolment at Catholic School Board is Minimal

AM800-News-Catholic-School-Board

The challenges presented by COVID-19 haven't had much of an impact on elementary enrolment at the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

The board had projected 13,200 students and a month into the school year, the board is off 179 students with 13,021 enrolled.

Superintendent Colleen Norris, says the slight drop was due to parents making the last-minute decision not to send their Junior Kindergarten or Senior Kindergarten student to school as attendance isn't mandatory until Grade 1.

Norris says the board is hopeful many of those students will return when COVID numbers decline.

"We believe a number of those families have elected not to attend, quite frankly, we believe out of concern for the unknown. We are hopeful, we've had a smooth start up, we've established our virtual school and we're hopeful some of these families will opt back in," she says.

Norris says administration has been reaching out to parents to hear their concerns.

"We absolutely will be reaching out to these families welcoming them back and hoping they will join us. In the normal course, we do get students registering through the school year and we are in fact continuing to accept registrations now," she says.

With the reduction of class sizes and the establishment of a virtual school, Norris says the board has hired 20 additional temporary teachers.

Of the just over 13,000 elementary students at the Catholic board, 71 per cent chose in-person teaching while the remaining 29 per cent opted for virtual learning.