Students are struggling academically, isolated socially, spending too much time on screens and experiencing mental health problems, parents said.
Parents told trustees that their teenagers need a return to full-time, regular school as soon as possible. Board officials say that is their goal, too, and they plan to transition back to full semesters and daily classes as soon as COVID-19 conditions allow.
But parents have been told to expect part-time school and quadmesters to still be in place when school begins next fall.
Several parents said the subjects are too compressed in quadmesters and don’t give students time to absorb the material.
All the Ottawa boards have adopted quadmesters, with two courses in each of the four semesters, as a way to limit student contacts this year.
But at the OCDSB, House Milley said the problems are magnified by a schedule that sees students take one course one week, then switch to the other course for the next week. Students don’t eat lunch at school and leave after class to go home and work online.
“They spend four hours in the classroom, wearing a mask, separated by six feet or more with all the other students. They can get up and go to the washroom, that’s pretty much it.”
Her daughter Sophie started Grade 9 this year not knowing anyone in her class, and was “pretty miserable for the first few months from a social perspective.”
Luckily Sophie has met some friends, but House Milley says her heart aches for other students who have plunged into depression this year.
“They are at home all the time apart from their four hours a day of school, they are extremely depressed, they are feeling very isolated. It’s really taking a toll from a mental health perspective.”
This content was originally published here.