Peterborough-area school boards preparing for virtual learning amid provincewide school shutdown

A grade 2 student completes assignment during school shutdown in 2020. Mark Giunta/Global News Peterborough

When Peterborough-area students return to class after this week’s spring break, it won’t be in a brick-and-mortar classroom — it will be online.

On Monday, the Ontario government announced it would close school buildings indefinitely in favour of remote learning as the province continues to see record-breaking COVID-19 infections and ICU admissions.

READ MORE: Ontario students move to virtual learning indefinitely amid record-high COVID-19 cases

Officials with the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB) and Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) say they’re ready to shift to virtual learning on Monday.

“I think what we’ve learned operating in this year is expect the unexpected,” said PVNCCDSB communications manager Galen Eagle.

“We were fully intending to reopening to in-person learning after the break, but we did tell students to bring home anything they needed to make the transition.  We knew our teachers needed to leave for the break with everything they needed and we ensured any technology that needed to be deployed was already in the schools before the break.”

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Click to play video: 'Ontario schools move to online learning indefinitely following April break'
Ontario schools move to online learning indefinitely following April break

“We have been back and forth a few times. I think everyone is getting more comfortable delivering education in both formats (in-person and online),” said KPRDSB chair Diane Lloyd.

“We wish it didn’t happen and wish everyone was back in school but we do think our staff will handle this well.”

Online learning for all grades within both boards will involve a combination of both synchronous (real-time connection with teachers) and asynchronous (students learn on their own).

Read more: ‘We have failed our children,’ health group says as more Ontario school closures announced

Students will spend parts of each day connected with their teachers and then complete the rest of their day learning independently using the resources posted online by teachers.

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For those who need technology within the KPRDSB, Chromebooks are available.

A link to a Google Form was provided in an email sent to families on Monday evening.

Anyone with issues using the Google Form can email and those without access to technology can call 1-877-741-4577, ext. 3003.

Students currently enrolled in KPRDSB’s Virtual Elementary School and Virtual High School will not be affected by the province’s announcement.

Students in Learning and Life Skills (LLS) will be engaged in face-to-face learning at their home school with their teachers and support staff on Monday.

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