Students and families at a Toronto elementary school say they have not received a formal offer of a tuition waiver.
The Toronto District School Board says it has received some requests from families and teachers for support.
The board says the support is being provided by the Ontario Government and the Ontario government-appointed task force on online education, which is conducting a review.
In the meantime, students and parents are still in limbo, wondering whether they will be able to access the online coursework at their preferred school.
In a letter to parents and students, the board says that if students and teachers do not receive an offer, then the board will consider other options, including offering more of the same courses in-person, offering a discount on some online services, or making changes to the existing courses.
The letter also notes that in Ontario, the province is responsible for funding online education.
The task force says the Ontario Teachers’ Federation is involved in the review, but the federation is not part of the task force.
In response, the Ontario Federation of Teachers says the review is “a process” and that the teachers’ union is not involved.
In an interview, TFSU president Mary Kay Henry said it is “very disappointing” that the board has not received an offer from parents.
The union also says the school board has offered the same online courses to all teachers and students in the district since 2011.
“It’s frustrating to be told that they’re not going to make a formal proposal,” she said.
But some parents are concerned about whether the government will pay for online courses, which can be costly.
The TFSF says that while it is still in negotiations with the government on a tuition plan, it supports “all online learning options that are currently available.”
The board does not have an exact number for how much it is willing to pay for courses.
Henry says it would be good for students and families to hear what the board is offering, and she wants the board to offer the offer as soon as possible.
But for some parents, the time frame seems long.
“We’re waiting and hoping and praying that this is going to happen,” said parent Christine O’Reilly.
“We need a change, and this is the first step.”
O’Reilly said she has waited for nearly two years to receive a formal response from the board.
She says her son was able to take the online courses for free because she signed up for the TFSE.
She said she is hoping to take her son back to his school for his first day of kindergarten, and to learn how he can use the online classes for free.