CBE parents frustrated as online classes haven't started
CALGARY -- Charlotte Wormsley thought her son Gideon would have started grade three classes by now, but so far real-time instruction hasn't started.
“As of today we’ve only just gotten assigned our teacher, so we’ve mostly been doing our own thing trying to keep him into a schedule,” said Wormsley. “It’s not what we were expecting.”
Wormsley is one of thousands of parents who signed her son up for the Calgary Board of Education’s (CBE) Hub online learning program. She said she was expecting an update on when classes would start September 8th.
“Last week we got a link to a webpage where we had kind of some work to do with the kids, but it was aimed at groups of grades. So for us, we were looking at grades one to five, and it was kind of grouped into smaller portions but not necessarily aimed for the right age,” said Wormsley.
CBE said In emails sent to families at the beginning of the month, the board indicated real-time interaction with a teacher would begin between September 14 to 18.
On its website, a notice on September 11, said parents in all grades would receive an email from their child’s teacher on Wednesday September 16th, introducing the teacher, instructions on how to log on to the online learning platform and the date and time for when he first real-time instruction will begin.
Wednesday, parents of 3,000 students in high school received an email with a revised date for Hub learning.
“We won’t be able to provide specific course information to high school students by Sept. 16 as we had planned. We hope to have that information available by the end of the day on Sept. 21,” said the email.
CTV News requested an interview with CBE.
In a statement, the board said it is working diligently to schedule approximately 18,000 CBE students into hub classes and assign their teachers.
“This process has taken longer than expected for high school students,” said Christopher Usih, Chief Superintendent of Schools. “While we could have shortened this timeline by restricting the options available to hub students, we believe that it is worth this short delay to give our students richer and more diverse learning opportunities.”
Usih said the CBE has to determine what subjects are requested, what teachers are available then hire additional teachers to make up the shortfall.
The CBE said real-time instruction in grades one through nine is on track to begin this week as scheduled.
Alberta Education said it has not been made aware of any other delays.
“Individual school authorities are responsible for managing their distance learning programs. It is the government’s expectation that school authorities work with their families, as they did when in-person classes were cancelled, to develop arrangements that will ensure every student continues to learn during the pandemic,” said Colin Aitchison, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Education.
The Calgary Catholic School District said online classes started September 8th, with more than 7,000 students registered.
Edmonton Public Schools said online classes began September 8th. Nearly 30,000 students opted for online instruction, just over 28 per cent of the student population.