The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) says the results of a recent survey show the overwhelming majority of students want in-person learning when the 2021-22 school year kicks off in September.
The school board, which serves more than 82,000 students in London, Middlesex County, Elgin County and Oxford County, had reached out to families about learning options for the next school year through its Return to Learn survey.
Director of Education Mark Fisher told Global News the survey garnered a “tremendous response rate.”
“About 95 per cent of our students want to return to in-person learning, and roughly five per cent want to stay with remote learning,” Fisher said.
The results represent a drop in the roughly 12 per cent of students who elected to stay in remote learning at times when in-person learning was available during the 2020-21 school year.
While he encourages all students to return to in-person learning next school year, Fisher said he recognizes that some families may prefer learning online.
“We have roughly five per cent of our students, which is a significant number, over 4,000 students, and we are prepared to continue to provide high quality learning for them in that remote virtual setting,” Fisher said.
The director of education added that the promise of increased vaccinations in the coming months may help the board return to a “new normal” in the fall.
Fisher said discussions are underway on how extracurriculars may be carried out in the upcoming school year.
“We know that whether its athletics or music or arts, all of those activities are what make school so vibrant for students and for the last 15, 16 months, our kids have missed that,” Fisher said.
“We want to do every in our power to reinstate and reinstitute everything we can in a healthy and safe way.”