Some countries that have closed their schools have implemented online learning strategies. Universities in the United States, including Harvard and Princeton, have announced they will be cancelling on-campus classes and transitioning to online courses. Some Canadian universities, like Western University, are following suit, while others are exploring such strategies.
Still, that comes with challenges, Hoffman said. Repackaging a course that was designed for in-person teaching to the online environment will take extraordinary time, resources and energy.
"When you design courses for online, it actually takes deliberate thought and attention as to doing it in a good way. "So if we're asking people just to suddenly teach their in-person courses online, it will be very difficult for those instructors to offer equal quality."
Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson Ryan Bird said school officials are finalizing contingency plans in the event of indefinite closures. But he cautioned that switching over to online learning, also known as e-learning, would not be so simple for elementary and secondary students.
"That is definitely a challenge at the TDSB and school boards right across the province, if not [the] country. The fact is, with 247,000 [students in Toronto], we can't flip a switch. It really comes down to access to technology. And really something this widespread is really not something that can be easily planned for."