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Flipping between in-person, virtual learning hard on students, says teacher

Last Updated Apr 7, 2021 at 7:22 pm EDT

MONTREAL — School started six months ago, and throughout last year adults have had to adapt to many changes. But what about kids?

Quebec children have been back to in-person learning in one form or another since January, but they’ve had to contend with various outbreaks and shutdowns sending them back home to virtual learning and then, in 14 days, back to the classroom with their teacher and friends.

Houda Bakas, an elementary school teacher in Montreal, says she’s noticed a change in students’ behaviour.

“They’re more stressed out. Before they were stressed out, but right now it’s more obvious,” said Bakas.

“Staying at home made them forget the boundaries that we have in the classroom. Like, they want to speak all the time and they don’t listen to one another.

“I mean they’re doing their best and we are doing our best but it’s a very difficult time to teach and to learn.”

There are currently more than 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff in Quebec schools. More than 1,000 classes have had to close, making it hard on parents, teachers, and students.

Experts say digital learning is not for everyone — some excel with it while others struggle.

“Children with learning difficulties are the ones most impacted by reliance on virtual e-learning. Students with ADHD, students with an impairment in reading writing, language, math, etc., these are students who are most impacted by not being in school,” said David Schipper, the director of Strategic Learning School in Montreal.

Some simple advice that could make all the difference for your children, according to Schipper, is to make sure to take breaks from schoolwork.

“Get that toboggan out, go to a hill and go down that hill over and over again. It’s really, really important for your children to have fun and to be away from those screens for a certain period of time,” he said.