School resumes this week, but it won’t be in the classroom, it will be at the kitchen table.
Monday marks the start of at least one week of remote learning for elementary students across Ontario, and three weeks of remote learning for secondary students.
London parent Amanda King, whose daughter Zoey Kluke is five years old, says she’s as ready as she can be.
"It’s tough when it’s work at home and having a young one who’s in JK or SK but from that you just have to go with the flow. If they don’t want to do it you just have to deal with it and take a break."
The remote learning is part of an attempt by the province to keep COVID-19 cases from going up even more after the Christmas break.
Parent Corey Spinney, who has two boys in grade school, says it’s not perfect but it’s better than delaying the start of school altogether.
"Fairly comfortable. As long as the kids are home and they’re doing something productive it’s always beneficial to them. I know they won’t have the hours at home that they will in school but it’s good that they’re still doing something at home."
Many elementary teachers in the London region spent Monday contacting families to let them know what to expect for the week ahead. For many teachers themselves though, there’s going to be a learning curve, as in-person teachers haven’t used online teaching resources since last spring.
Thames Valley Elementary Teachers' Federation President Craig Smith says those who have been teaching full remote learning will be ready, others not so much.
"There’s been training in the full remote learning but for teachers in the in-person environment I would say the answer to that is no. There’s not been much by way of training."
Smith adds that up until now, about 90 per cent of the local members have been teaching in-person.
"On the one hand the government is saying we need to keep the schools closed because of the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand they keep saying that school is the safest place because there’s no spread of COVID-19. So there’s a bit of a mixed message going on there. You know the numbers being what they are, this is probably where we need to be for this period of time."
While many have called for schools to remain closed even longer, the Ministry of Education has been adamant that elementary classes resume Jan. 11.
King says she’s comfortable with the scheduled start date because of the communication she’s been receiving from the local Catholic school board, which her daughter’s school is part of.
"Information they send us, if they are not feeling well keep them home. If you don’t feel well keep them home. It’s hard but you do what you need to do to make sure nobody else gets it."
Secondary school students are set to return to in-person learning on Jan. 25.