Pandemic prompts some school boards to move open houses online

SCHOOL LOCKERS

Choosing an elementary or high school for your child is an important step and visiting a school is part of the process.

But the pandemic has made that hard to do, so some school boards have had to adapt to help parents pick the right one while keeping everyone safe.

Open houses for schools have now moved online -  this year is the first time the Lester B. Pearson School Board will host a virtual one.

"It's really challenging to replace them because parents really want to meet the school teams, they want to see the school in action if possible," said Joanne Malowany, coordinator for community services. 

Malowany said they want to give parents as much as information as possible in videos - the board put together 32 videos.

"Each school will have their own dedicated web page with a promotional video which gives a really  good flavour of the school," said Malowaney in an interview with CJAD 800.

Malowany said they've also added one-on-one Zoom meetings for parents to ask any questions on Janaury 19.

"If they're lacking the connection from the virtual piece on the website, (they) have that conversation and you can see them on camera and kind of instruct them that way," said Malowaney.

Virtual open houses at EMSB since last fall

The English Montreal School Board is now an old hand at offering virtual open houses - they started last fall.

Some schools had videos about their programs and besides group or private Zoom sessions, some administrators offered live tours via FaceTime.

The EMSB said that schools that did not hold such events answered questions via email or phone. 

It added that Facebook pages of all of their schools "have increased in traffic tremendously with questions regarding open house and registration, so these efforts are ongoing in advance of February 1."

Some of their schools have scheduled another virtual open house for later this month.

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