Back-to-school has been a rollercoaster for parents, students, and teachers alike. The Toronto District School Board’s online start for elementary students was set to begin today, but many students and families will be logging in to a shocking surprise — they don't have a teacher.

The school board is so short on educators that they are having students teach themselves until they can hire more.

The news came in the form of an announcement released by the TDSB on Monday.

“As many of you know, there has been an overwhelming demand for virtual learning and more than 60,000 students are now enrolled in the Elementary Virtual School," the statement reads.

"While it was our plan to have all students start the year with synchronous (live, interactive) learning on the first day, we have determined that this will not be possible."

The TDSB says that for students who sign on and do not see a note from their teacher, "there is not currently a teacher assigned to the class."

"Your child will begin on Tuesday morning with asynchronous (independent) learning."

The independent learning module is for students to complete at their own pace and families will be notified immediately once their child has been assigned a teacher.

In an interview with Metro Morning, the TDSB estimates that some 30,000 students may start school without a teacher.

School districts all over the province saw many students switching to virtual learning as concerns over COVID-19 transmission increased.

The Peel School District saw 10,000 students enroll in just one week.

There are currently 75 schools in Ontario reporting COVID-19 cases, as per the province's online tracking tool.

A total of 90 lab-confirmed infections have been confirmed, with 33 among students and 26 among staff.

Currently, one school is closed due to an outbreak. 

The Toronto District School Board is reassuring parents that they're trying their hardest to hire more teachers and give students a great academic year. 

"We [...] ask for you patience and understanding as we continue with the incredibly challenging and complex work of establishing an Elementary Virtual School to serve more than 60,000 students," wrote the board.

 

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