To our elementary school families,

I am writing to provide you with an important update regarding classroom and staffing changes to both in-person and distance learning in our elementary program. This message will clearly explain why change is necessary for our schools, and describe potential impacts for students in either in-person or distance learning environments.

Each spring, we begin the process of staffing our schools for the new school year. This process ensures we have enough teachers and support staff for our schools and classrooms based on the number of students we expect to attend school in September.

At the start of every school year, our schools assess their classroom numbers based on the actual number of students attending school. Sometimes, it is necessary to reorganize and make changes to classroom assignments. These changes could include splitting classes into two or combining two smaller classes together. For example, a school might need to combine a Grade 2 class with a Grade 3 class. These are common practices and each change meets provincial requirements as set out in collective agreements with our union partners.

As you know, this school year is unlike anything we have experienced before. What makes this year more complex is that we now offer two learning options, in-person and distance learning,  and are allowing families and students the ability to change their preferred learning mode at certain times throughout the year. This process requires us to make changes to class lists, staffing, and class sizes. 

Recently, we offered families the opportunity to request a change to their child’s mode of learning from in-person to distance learning, or the opposite. That deadline was Friday, September 25.  We are working hard to put in place the necessary changes as soon as possible. 

Many families are requesting a change so more classrooms will be adjusted than usual.  Some students will have a new classroom teacher, and some students will be moved into a new classroom with different students. For most students, there will be no change at all. 

In total, 119 of our educators will move from in-person learning to distance learning to support the increased program demand. If your child’s classroom is impacted by these types of changes, you will hear directly from your child’s school in the coming weeks with more information. All changes will follow Public Health and Ministry guidelines regarding physical distancing and the number of students in a class, to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

We understand that this reorganization could create a change to your child’s learning environment and established routine. This realignment is essential for us to provide all of our students with equitable access to learning opportunities. No matter what, your child will continue to receive quality instruction from our caring educators who will ensure they are supported in their learning journey – each and every one.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support and understanding as we continue to navigate this school year together. Things are different, and I know for some, things have not been easy. Please know that every member of the WRDSB will continue to work hard to ensure that each one of our students is successful this year, no matter how they choose to learn, whether in-person or virtually.

I look forward to continuing this school year together.

Be well,

John Bryant
Director of Education


As we continue to provide families with clear and timely information we want to be able to answer your questions and help you understand how these changes may impact your child.

How will these changes impact students who are attending school in-person?

Possible Changes to your Child’s Teacher

As students move to Distance Learning, teaching staff will be needed to support them. After the recent opportunity provided to families to change their child’s mode of learning, more teachers are needed to move from teaching in-person to teaching in the Distance Learning program. As a result, some students who will continue to attend in person may receive a new teacher.

Possible Changes to your Child’s Class

When a student moves from In-Person Learning to Distance Learning, the in-person class they leave behind would become smaller. In some cases, these classes become significantly smaller and need to be combined with another small class at the school. This allows for the teacher of one of those classes to transition to Distance Learning. Please note, class sizes will continue to align with predetermined class size limits so that health and safety standards can be maintained.  Any students new to an in-person classroom will receive direct instruction from the teacher on the classroom health and safety routines and protocols.

There are many situations that require schools to combine two grades into one class.  Parents may see an increase in combined classes as we realign staff and students during this time. Rest assured, our teachers have the experience and training to accommodate students of more than one grade level in a single classroom.

Health and Safety in our In-Person Classrooms

As always, every effort will be made to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. Schools will continue to be equipped with proper PPE, hand sanitizer, face coverings, signage, hand washing stations and routines that prevent the spread of germs. All schools will ensure physical distancing wherever possible and ensure spaces are consistently cleaned and disinfected – focusing on common areas and frequent touchpoints.

How will these changes impact students who are attending distance learning?

Possible Changes to your Child’s Teacher

An additional 3,000 (approximate) elementary students will be moving to the Distance Learning program. This will bring us to approximately 12,000 students who are enrolled in the Elementary Distance Learning Program in the WRDSB. In order to support these students, teaching staff will need to be moved from In-Person Learning to Distance Learning. As a result, students who have been enrolled in Distance Learning since the start of the school year may receive a new teacher.

Possible Changes to your Child’s Class

As students enter into the Distance Learning Program classes and class sizes may change.

Students awaiting transition into Distance Learning:

Students who are waiting to move into the Distance Learning Program can expect to hear from their teacher by Friday, October 23 and will begin learning in their new class on Monday, October 26.

Students awaiting transition to In-Person learning from Distance Learning:

Students who will move from Distance Learning to In-Person Learning will be contacted by their home school Principal. Students will begin In-Person learning on October 22nd. Families of students switching from Distance Learning to In-Person Learning will be provided with information about health and safety protocols, pre-screening processes and school day logistics, prior to beginning.


If your child’s classroom will be impacted by these changes, you will hear directly from your child’s school with specific information. You do not need to contact your child’s school.