Guelph public school board launches temporary remote option for elementary students

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Guelph’s public school board says elementary students can choose a temporary remote learning option that is being launched once in-person learning resumes next week.

In a post on its website on Wednesday, the Upper Grand District School Board said it is important for families to have a choice, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as Omicron variant cases surge.

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“We want to provide a temporary option for families as an alternative to in-person learning, which also allows students to continue with their grade-specific curriculum when at home for a short/limited period of time,” the board said.

The new temporary option is different from the current remote program that students enrolled in at the beginning of the school year.

Upper Grand spokesperson Heather Loney confirmed in an email that any student enrolled in in-person learning may choose to participate in the temporary remote learning.

“There may be a variety of reasons why a child may be learning from home and we recognize the importance of providing families with options that support continued learning for students,” she said.

“This temporary remote learning option provides asynchronous resources for students to work on independently while not attending in-person, until they return to in-person learning.”

Students will also remain connected to their in-person class through Google Classroom and it’s expected that they will eventually return to their original in-person class.

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Loney said there is no cap on how long a student can use the temporary remote option.

“Temporary remote is not intended as a long-term replacement for in-person learning, but to provide an option that supports the continuation of learning while students are temporarily absent from in-person learning and completing work at home,” she said.

The board added that families should note that this option provides asynchronous resources for students to work on independently and does not include live teaching and none of the completed work will be assessed or graded.

Eight remote teachers have been hired to provide work and support for students, the board said. The student’s classroom teacher will also be checking in on students throughout the week.

The temporary option is available to students in both French Immersion and regular programming.

Any families who wish to participate in the option are required to notify their school office, indicating that their child will be accessing temporary remote learning and indicate the length of time they anticipate their child will be doing so.

Loney said the board doesn’t know how many students will enroll in the new option and it’s not known how long it will be available as the board will continue to “evaluate this option on an ongoing basis as the COVID situation evolves.”

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She added that introducing temporary remote learning will help avoid another reorganization of classes this year.

“At this time of year, our focus is to maintain the learning momentum and positive relationships built between students and their in-person teacher,” Loney said.

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