Mr. Lecce, you didn’t do your homework did you?

Yesterday, the Ontario Minister for Education announced the plans for schools to begin in the fall in the midst of this pandemic. You can see the release here. The take away is that there are three possible scenarios for schools in the fall.

1. Full opening with new social distancing guidelines for students and teachers.

2. Some mix of in class activities and distance learning.

3. We are back in lockdown and classes must resume under distance learning protocols.

For many parents this isn’t news. Any one with a passing knowledge of the news today, could see that these were really the only options available to schools. This announcement amounted to nothing, and was more akin to a student presenting their book report after not reading the book.

Parents and school boards, need specifics. What will bussing look like if we need to maintain social distancing? How do we implement class sizing of maximum 15 students without hiring extra teachers and portables for some schools? What happens if numbers spike and we must return into lockdown on a moments notice? These are questions that are plaguing parent’s minds. This announcement does nothing to alleviate those concerns.

The Achilles heal to this entire enterprise though, is the distance learning component. Talk to any parent of a student involved in this model and you will hear the problems of motivation and accountability for both teacher and student. The increased requirement of parents to become in home teachers, and technology which has proven to be a poor substitute for in class learning. It has been 3 and half months and the verdict is in: distance learning is a failure.

Regardless though, it is also apparent that in the age of COVID-19 some form of distance learning is going to be required. Increased technology in the learning experience is now paramount to success. Therefore, what is the government doing to ensure that distance learning enables success for students. Increased training for both parents and teachers might be required to ensure students are being properly educated.

I heard nothing to address these issues from Mr. Lecce. Once again, its become a pattern with this provincial government of stepping to the microphone to appear in control of the situation. In reality though, they are reluctant to seek expert help on the issues and are thin skinned to valid criticism from their constituents. Luckily, Mr. Lecce has all summer to work hard to make a plan of action to address these shortcomings. Hopefully, he’ll take up summer school instead of summer vacation.

Update: Colin D’Melio with CTV tweeted this. My statement stands this is pointless unless a revamped distance learning model is developed.

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