How will extended online learning impact teachers and students? Experts Available


Education experts available for interviews 

TORONTO, January 8, 2021 – Students will continue to learn online due to rising rates of COVID-19. The Province of Ontario, citing a rise in positivity rates among school-aged children, yesterday made the decision to keep elementary schools in Southern Ontario closed until January 25, an extension that will align with the planned return of secondary students on the same day.

While the fears of some parents and teachers may be easing following the Ontario government announcement, others may wonder how this period of extended online learning will impact students.

The following experts are available for interviews:

John Ippolito, an associate professor in York University’s Faculty of Education and father of three children attending GTA schools, conducts school-based research addressing relationships between schools and homes with a focus on minority families. In his work at York University, he has worked with school board-based colleagues to develop programs that foster dialogue between home and schools.

He is available to comment on:

  • Why some students will continue to be disadvantaged by online learning
  • Why we should not penalize students for not being able to take full advantage of online learning
  • Why we need to keep in mind that students and teachers are already dealing with added stress
  • Why it’s important not to put a disproportionate amount of extra work on parents
  • Why all stakeholders need to be aware of the impact their actions on having on others


Associate Professor Sarah Barrett, of York University’s Faculty of Education, surveyed 764 teachers in May and June, to explore and document teachers’ experiences of the unprecedented closures in the winter and spring of 2020, including their efforts to adapt to school closures and meet student needs.

Her survey found the emergency shift to online teaching at the beginning of the pandemic disrupted teacher-student and student-student relationships, made it difficult to assess how students were performing, and made vulnerable students more vulnerable.

She can comment on:

  • The difference between the emergency distance learning caused by the lockdown and the online learning (freely chosen by some families) that has been in place since September
  • The need to pay special attention to supporting vulnerable students (special ed, impoverished, otherwise at risk)
  • The need for open and ongoing communication between school boards/teacher federations and government to ensure that teachers have time to plan and prepare to provide emergency distance learning
  • A look at challenges experienced by elementary and secondary school teachers earlier in the pandemic, including balancing caregiving and teaching responsibilities, equity, accommodations for students with special needs, access to technology, authentic assessment of student learning and the disruption of relationships with students


York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, we bring a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare our students for success. York's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. York’s campuses in Costa Rica and India offer students exceptional transnational learning opportunities and innovative programs. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet, and our future. 


Media contact:
Anjum Nayyar, York University Media Relations, cell 437-242-1547,