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School opt-in, opt-out window opens on Friday

Elementary school students and their parents will have one week to decide to change the manner in which their schooling is delivered between now and February.
Lakehead Public School Sign Snow
FILE/Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – Lakehead Public Schools is giving parents of elementary students until the end of day on Oct. 2 to switch between remote and in-person studies.

Students who choose to return to the classroom will do so on Oct. 13, the first of three opt-in windows put in place throughout the school year. The second date occurs on Feb. 1 and the third and final date to move to in-school learning is March 22.

Similar opt-in and opt-out dates are in place for the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.

The board, in a release, said anyone who misses the deadline of 4 p.m. next Friday will have to remain in their current learning situation, to enable schools to know class and school sizes and accommodate them under the provincial plan.

A.J. Keene, superintendent of education at Lakehead Public Schools, said it’s a very complex process and not as simple as asking for an immediate change.

“Moving to remote learning is not so simple as just assigning them to a teacher. We have a school, we have a principal, we have 45 teachers, we have class lists,” Keene said.

“It’s a complicated process.

Parents can begin requesting a move from in-school to virtual or vice versa starting on Friday and have one week to finalize their decision.

“The week after we’ll make the adjustments, re-staff, reorganize school and Oct. 13 we’ll be able to move people to their new placement,” Keene said.

The board asks parents to talk to teachers, early childhood educators and the school principal about any concerns with a child’s current education set-up, conveying the reason for wanting a change. Schools will work to provide solutions to concerns and barriers.

Should a change be ultimately requested, the principal will document the request and new class lists will be released during the week of Oct. 5.

Parents and students will learn their new teacher on Oct. 8 or Oct. 9.

Secondary students will be able to change their schooling location in November, to start the second quadmester.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 18 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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