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Parents not liking class sizes, but OCDSB says in-person averages actually lower than expected

Staff at Ottawa's largest school board say sizes of online classes were deliberately made larger in order to keep in-person class sizes smaller.
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Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustees held a hybrid in-person and videoconference Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Photo/Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Ottawa's English public school board has been hearing from some parents who are surprised by the size of their child's classes, and are concerned that they're too large for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The staggered return to classes has students gradually re-entering schools in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

"There has been some alarm [from parents] that some of the class sizes are larger than the expected average," said Dr. Camille Williams-Taylor, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's director of education. "And of course, there is a concern about issues of physical distance and so forth."

Staff told trustees during a briefing on the return to school that in-person class sizes have been smaller than in previous years, and smaller than what was expected this month.

"The in-person averages are lower than what was initially projected, while the remote averages are higher," said Superintendent Janice McCoy.

Board staff say that sizes of online classes were deliberately made larger, in order to keep in-person class sizes smaller. In Grades 4 through 8, for example, in-person classes average 22 students while most online classes are in the low to mid-30s.

OCDSB online learning is scheduled to begin for all grades, Friday, but there's still lots of potential for changes.

"We are seeing requests for movement both ways," Superintendent Eric Hardie told trustees, "in terms of folks wanting to come into virtual and others wanting to move back to their home schools."
 




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Jason White

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