Toronto, May 27, 2021 – The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) is releasing a new Discussion Paper, Transitioning from the COVID-19 School Experience, that reveals two compelling realities that must be addressed following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know many students haven’t found success in remote forms of learning,” says OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “On the flip side, several innovative practices in teaching and leadership have emerged that should be preserved and implemented on a broader scale post-pandemic.”
Since first declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020, COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, one of the great social and economic disruptors of our time, with widespread impact on one of society’s most traditional institutions – school. We can’t pretend this educational roller-coaster hasn’t left many students isolated, their parents stressed and some teachers on the brink of burnout. Nor can we ignore the fact low-income and racialized families were hit hardest by both the virus and the switch to online learning. The truth is, COVID-19 reinforced inequities many students face. These inequities are inevitably linked to students’ overall achievement, well-being, and future prospects.
“Ontario children are preparing to return to their public schools after the biggest disruption in a lifetime,” says Abraham. “What have we observed about student engagement, and how equitably are we connecting with the province’s young learners? This is what we want to explore through conversations with our education partners in the coming months. What can we change, what practices can we deepen?”
This is a rare once-in-a-lifetime chance to reset how Ontario provides education, a critical moment that needs everyone’s voice – students, educators, parents, trustees, everyone in our school communities. Our Association is providing the launchpad for this conversation with the research and observations in this initial Discussion Paper. We are calling for others to join us.