Hundreds of teachers to be switched from in-person to virtual school as TDSB announces huge reorganization

Just weeks into a school term already marked by disruption, the Toronto District School Board is about to usher in some more.

In a letter sent to families Tuesday evening, the TDSB announced that up to 324 elementary schools will lose some in-person teachers as they will be moved into virtual classrooms.

The board said it announced the reorganization to help support the “significant number of students” — more than 66,000 — who are currently enrolled in online school.

Out of the 324 schools, some will lose up to four or more teachers, while others will lose one or two.

As a result of the loss of teachers, some students attending in-person classes may have to move into different and/or larger classrooms with different teachers, just three weeks after starting school.

For example, two smaller classes may be combined to create one larger class, the letter from the TDSB stated. However, the board was clear in assuring that classroom sizes will remain within public health measures.

Since school began, there has been a number of shortages for teachers in virtual classrooms. In the letter, the board acknowledged the lack of resources, saying, “The reorganization of schools and classes will increase the availability of permanent TDSB teachers for the Virtual School and enhance stability.”

The board said it anticipates all students to have an assigned teacher once the reorganization is complete by Oct 13.

The TDSB is Canada’s largest school board with some 247,000 students in 583 schools.

Meanwhile, the board announced the appointment Tuesday evening of Kathy Witherow as the new interim director of education. Her new role will begin on Oct. 10

Witherow previously worked in senior management and helped to develop safe back-to-school plans for the TDSB’s in-person schools and virtual schools during the pandemic.

“I look forward to continuing working together with all educational partners as we focus on ensuring all of our students are once again back to school, either in-person or virtual, and that the learning experiences are safe, engaging, and centred on the identity and strengths of each of our students,” she said.

Witherow replaces Carlene Jackson who will begin her appointment as Ontario’s Comptroller General.

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Breanna Xavier-Carter

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