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Council concerned about e-learning

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Members of town council are concerned with the provinces changes to public education, particularly the move to e-learning at high schools.

A information correspondence from the Township of McNab/Braeside requesting that Premier Doug Ford reconsider introducing online courses until rural Ontario students have the same opportunity to internet access as urban students, was flagged by Coun. Douglas Judson during Monday evening's council meeting.

“I don't believe there is action to be taken by this council but . . . I think there's other municipalities within the district that will probably have received this with concern,” he noted.

“Should we hear from them I would like to see us support them because I think that they've done a lot for us with our recent turmoils as well.”

Mayor June Caul said it will be interesting to see how e-learning effects the district's high schools, especially since broadband isn't great in some municipal areas.

Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft noted he would like to show support for the McNab/Braeside resolution.

“In Fort Frances High School there are a significant number of challenged students . . . and as a former educator I can certainly speak to this—they will need a lot of help if they're going to be challenged to do these online courses,” he remarked.

“I certainly do support the McNab resolution, and I don't feel that it's necessary at this point in time to introduce e-learning to high school students.”

Mayor Caul echoed Coun. Wiedenhoeft's comments as a fellow retired teacher and said there are many students who don't even have access to a computer at home.

She is also worried that challenged students won't be able to receive much needed one-on-one assistance for e-learning courses after they're introduced.

The requirement that Ontario high school students take for e-learning courses to graduate will be phased in at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

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