Through the first week of September, schools across the country have been scrambling to let parents know exactly how they’ll be managing the risk of COVID-19.1
Details vary by province and school board. Many districts are asking their students to take some or all of their classes online, while others are requiring students without sufficient Internet to return to the classroom in person, despite health and safety concerns.
The pandemic has been difficult for all of us – but especially for students. We need to make sure that our kids are given the best chance possible to get the education that works best for them in this incredibly challenging time.
We’ve already seen the effects of the digital divide on our kids. Teachers polled by the Canadian Teachers Federation at the end of the last school year were already seeing widening inequalities, with 80% reporting online instruction was going negatively for students living in poverty.2
This school year is only going to make it worse – unless our governments step in to make sure every kid is connected, with a chance to succeed no matter what this year throws our way.
Online classes are difficult for everyone – but they’re almost impossible for those whose home lacks a reasonable Internet connection, devices for each student, and enough quiet space to study. Remote learning is going to be a giant magnifying glass pointed at inequality in Canada.
The digital divide already exists between kids whose families are well-off, and those who aren’t; and between kids in well-connected urban areas, and those in rural areas where connectivity is expensive and poor, if it exists at all.
Speak up now and tell our leaders to do everything they can to bridge this divide and get every student connected.