Sudbury school boards report low virtual student enrollment

Some high school students have switched to online learning courses offered provincially

Sudbury-area boards are reporting low student interest in the remote school offerings the province has asked them to provide, resulting in instructional changes for some local high school students.

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board saw just 19 students enroll in virtual learning at the elementary level, along with 19 at the secondary level.

The school board offers a virtual primary class for students enrolled in primary school.

But Sudbury Catholic students who opt into distance learning at the high school level must now take provincial e-learning courses, which are online courses offered to high school students across Ontario, and involve more independent learning. .

Rainbow District School Board Director of Education Bruce Bourget said at the August 30 school board meeting that less than two percent of Rainbow Board students have chosen to learn virtually during the year. school year 2022-2023.

As it has done in previous school years, Rainbow Council is offering a virtual school for elementary and secondary students, a council spokesperson said.

The two French-language school boards also say they have a very low student participation rate in virtual learning for this school year.

The Nouvelon Catholic School Board said it has 10 elementary students enrolled in virtual learning. “The Virtual Academy will continue to operate as a regular school while operating in virtual mode,” a statement from the board said.

The Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario said 11 elementary students are enrolled in its virtual school.

The two local French councils also say secondary school students can take virtual lessons through e-learning. These courses are offered through a group called CAVLFO (Consortium d’apprentissage virtual de langue française de l’Ontario).

Nouvelon said his virtual high school students also studied through CAVLFO in the past school year.

Joanne Bénard, director of education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, said that in previous pandemic years, virtual high school students would have connected to in-person classes at their regular school via livestream. .

But after the board surveyed families last fall about their interest in virtual learning, it determined it was not feasible to continue offering this mode of schooling to its high school students for the year. 2022-23 school year due to low attendance.

As noted above, the board has opted to help students in its virtual high schools enroll in full provincial e-learning course schedules.

Bénard explains that these entirely online courses are offered by teachers across the province and can be taken by students from all over Ontario.

These courses are also taken by students who may only be taking a few online courses to fill their schedule. In fact, the province requires students to take a number of courses online, although families can opt out.

“Sudbury Catholic offers some of these courses, as do other school boards in Ontario,” she said. “We have a number of seats, and we fill a percentage of those seats, and then we have open seats for other councils, so they can join our e-learning courses.”

Bénard said the majority of high school students taking fully virtual classes this year are in grade 12. “They are independent learners and they know the system,” she said.

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