Deadline to decide in-person or virtual learning coming up for WRDSB families

Families of Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) students will soon have to decide between in-person or virtual learning for the next school year.

Mataya Mondey, a grade 11 student at Glenview Park Secondary School says she once imagined her senior year in high school would be a time she would never forget, but now she’s having second thoughts.

“Once I graduate, there’s nothing,” she said. “It’s not special anymore, there’s no memories.”

Mondey was notified by WRDSB on April 26 that she had to decide her mode of learning for the next school year by 4 p.m. on Monday.

She says that, in the middle of a province-wide stay-at-home order, she has been opting for remote learning, and eventually selected it.

“It actually caused me to cry a little bit,” said Mondey. “I’m too stressed out, especially with everything else going on.”

The WRDSB will automatically enroll students to in-person learning if they do not hear from them by the Monday deadline.

“I was actually quite shocked that they would force a decision that you can’t change, especially when we don’t know where this virus is going in the next four to five months,” said Debra Cochrane, Mondey’s mother.

She adds that the deadline is unreasonable and that the courses offered online are limited, like how Mondey isn’t able to take the arts class that she wanted.

“Not being able to pursue that unless she goes into school is one thing that will hold her back,” said Cochrane.

Parents like Jennifer Callan say they are just looking for the school board to provide more flexibility.

“Give it one caveat,” she said. “Then it’s one change in the year at least. The kids deserve a chance to have an option.”

Callan selected virtual learning for her two kids and says it was the safest choice.

Other parents like Stacy Butler wishes she had an option, as her three kids will be heading back to the classroom this fall despite her fears about class sizes.

“My maternity leave comes to an end in January, which forces me to return to work,” she said. “This was literally our only choice.”

A Waterloo Catholic District School Board representative tells CTV News that they received preliminary indication from families in March on what type of learning students will partake in next year, but they’ll only ask for final verification in June.