The next chance to flip between virtual and in-person learning, now coming in January

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Two Toronto-area school boards are changing their online learning plans, saying the moves will simplify the logistical nightmare presented by a growing number of students who want to avoid brick-and-mortar schools.

The Toronto District School Board on Friday delayed the next chance for elementary students to switch between online and in-class learning from November to January, while the Peel District School Board said it would switch its high schoolers to a ``hybrid'' model of learning that will see in-person students and their remote-learning peers taught lessons together.

Thousands of elementary students at the TDSB just switched between online and in-class learning earlier this week, following a Sept. 30 registration deadline, said spokesman Ryan Bird, forcing the province's largest school board to completely rearrange classes and reassign teachers.

``This reorganization process literally slammed everything else in the board to an absolute halt while you have dozens of central staff working on this realignment, this reorganization alone,'' he said. ``And we realized a month after just doing it, we couldn't then just do it again.''

Bird said the goal is to restore some ``stability'' to schools, after 7,500 elementary students went from learning in-class to learning remotely this month, while 3,000 students who had been learning from home moved to the classroom.

``This is about not only the stability for the system, but also the mental health and well-being of our students and staff. We didn't want them changing a teacher one month in, and then another month in they have to change to another teacher,'' he said.