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With onset of Omicron, Rainbow board’s online learners jump significantly

The number of high school students opting for remote learning has doubled, but still only makes up 7% of student population 

The Rainbow District School Board says the number of students taking part in the board’s online learning program will jump significantly Feb. 7, which is the board’s next available transition date to change modes of learning.

This as the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the province.

Earlier this month, parents were asked to complete surveys regarding their child’s mode of learning for the rest of the school year.

Speaking at the Jan. 25 Rainbow board meeting, director of education Bruce Bourget said based on preliminary numbers, there will be 320 secondary students studying remotely as of the February transition date, up from 157 recorded in October.

The percentage of secondary students studying remotely is increasing from 3.4 per cent to seven per cent.

“So in effect, it’s double at the secondary level,” Bourget said.

In the elementary level, there were 372 Rainbow board students studying remotely as of October, but that number jumps to 506 as of Feb. 7, up by 134 students in the elementary panel.

The percentage of elementary students studying remotely is increasing from 4.1 per cent to 6.4 per cent next month.

At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, the combined percentage of Rainbow board students at both the elementary and secondary levels studying remotely was 20.7 per cent, but that number dropped later on in the school year.

Bourget also reported at the meeting that the Rainbow board had seen an increase of enrolment over a year before as of Oct. 31. 

The board, which has a total of 13,692 students, had an increase of 332 students at the elementary level and 92 students at the secondary level.