This item from My Bancroft Now was interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

The Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board is doing some homework this month on the future of virtual schooling.

The board opened a Virtual School in 2020, but enrollment numbers have declined significantly this year. However, the board says it remains an important choice for some families and it wants to gauge how much interest there is in keeping the learn-from-home model.

It has launched a survey for parents who are still interested in virtual school. The data it generates will help the board make future decisions, which might include partnering with other boards to run virtual schools.

The board is exploring the possibility of partnering with neighbouring public school boards to offer elementary and secondary virtual school options for next year.

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The first reason is the reality that this is March, the survey mentioned in the article closes on 24 March, and it is basically making decisions about enrollment for the 2023-24 school year that begins approximately six months from now.  In fact, this practice of forcing families to make decisions about whether or not they engage in elearning in Ontario is a familiar theme (see here and here).

The second reason is the reference in the article to “elementary virtual school options.”  As noted in K-12 Online Learning at the Elementary Level, pre-pandemic there were very few public distance learning options at the elementary level – and the vast majority of those were still correspondence-based.  The potential that one of the positive aspects of the great experiment with remote learning over the past three years is that there may be additional opportunities for elementary students to engage in online learning opportunities, when deemed appropriate by their parents/guardians and the school as a viable alternative to traditional classroom-based instruction, is long overdue in the Canadian context.

Surveying Interest In Virtual Schooling

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