The Toronto District School Board’s interim chief says they would find a way to teach children French if the use of smaller class sizes in the fall meant there weren’t enough qualified French teachers to go around.
Carlene Jackson says that if the board chooses to cohort some or all of its elementary student population into groups of 15 in September, they would “be creative” and find a new way to deliver French language instruction.
“We are looking at various models and trying to be creative to ensure that we are able to continue to provide delivery of French,” she told CP24 on Thursday, adding French Immersion would continue.
“We’ve never planned or stated that we would be cancelling French Immersion – just wanted to make that very, very clear.”
She said they’d also look for additional occasional teachers qualified to teach French.
Her comments come one day after the board released several scenarios for when classes resume in September.
The Board says that cohorting some or all of the elementary student population into groups of no more than 15, something public health experts support, would cost between $20 and $249 million extra for the year, even if classes are let out early and things like French are taught differently.
Even just bringing kids back with normal class sizes and regular public health measures such as use of PPE and ending certain uses of TDSB property could cost the board $22 million extra for the first four months of the school year.
“If we went with back to school full time with regular class sizes there is no additional cost other than the health and safety measures that we need to put in place, which also have a quite hefty cost,” Jackson said.