Some Edmonton Public students in online learning still don’t know who their teacher is as district grapples with ‘mind blowing’ demand

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The division originally had a deadline of Aug. 21 for parents to decide whether to send their kids to in-person or online classes, but Muhlethal said changes will be accepted until Friday at 4 p.m. 

“Choice is so incredibly important for parents right now. I mean, in all this pandemic, just to have some control over that learning, whether it’s in person or online, we felt was really important for parents,” she said.

“But by doing that, and allowing the flexibility and the fluidity to go up until Friday at 4, it’s created a lot of changes in our processes to keep up with that.”

As of Thursday, 28,876 students and nearly 800 teachers are registered to do classes online, Muhlethal said. She couldn’t say exactly how big individual classes will be, as they could be adjusted after the final numbers come in on Friday.

Enough students are taking online learning with Edmonton Public Schools that if they were separated into their own school district they would become the fifth-largest school district in the province, she said.

Muhlethal, a former school scheduler, said organizing for that many students to learn online in a short period of time has been “mind blowing.”

“I mean, we’ve never done this in the history of Edmonton Public Schools to this magnitude,” she said.

Part of the work has been deciding what high school courses will be taught online each quarter.

High school students are only taking two classes a day — one in the morning and a second in the afternoon — and theyhave the option of taking one online course and one class in person to make sure they can get all the credits they want or need.

“We felt it was incredibly important that they had that ability to do that so that they could meet their … requirements and what they really wanted to take for options that we may or may not have been able to offer in an online learning environment,” Muhlethal said. 

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