Majority of TVDSB parents support return to school in September
LONDON, ONT. -- A survey of roughly 43,000 respondents found that the majority of parents with students in the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) support a return to school in September.
Roughly two thirds of families said they are willing to send their children back to school full-time with enhanced protocols.
TVDSB Director of Education Mark Fisher says, “Approximately 80 per cent of families are ready to return, as long as we can provide safe conditions, and we had approximately 20-25 per cent would like to continue learning from home.”
More than half of elementary parents said that child care would be an issue if students were learning online some or all of the time.
Parent Heather Quick agrees, “Full-time is the way to go. A lot of people will disagree with me maybe, but let’s get them back into school let’s do it carefully, safely.”
But many support a return to school with smaller classes and alternated days or weeks if that would minimize the risk, while others aren't sure even that level of risk is worth it.
Teacher Christian Premont says, “We all have vulnerable people that we know, and we live around. Do I really want to be a carrier that brings it home and makes some members of my family sick?”
Parent Lori Campbell echoes those concerns, “It’s not just a cold, someone could die from it if they get it. And I’m not doing that, I’m not putting him at risk, I’m not putting myself at risk.”
Currently school boards have been asked to prepare three models of school, full return, blended and online.
Fisher says they are ready to be flexible moving forward, and expect they'll have to change with the conditions.
“We are committed to providing safe environments in school, we’re committed to high quality learning, but we also need to be prepared that we can adapt and move between models at anytime during the year. We’re just asking for patience and flexibility and we are open to listening to what works for you."
The TVDSB plans to launch another survey to poll families on their experiences with online learning.