Q&A: Remote Learning

remote learning

What are the minimum requirements for engaging students during Remote Learning?

As outlined by the Ministry of Education:


  • During remote learning, students and parents must be provided with a daily schedule or timetable that includes 300 minutes of learning opportunities, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Programming must be based on the full Ontario curriculum and include opportunities for guided instruction, large and small group learning, synchronous check-ins, and asynchronous independent work.


  • Teachers will be available to students during the instructional day.

What are the minimum requirements for synchronous learning?

Below outlines the minimum requirements for synchronous and asynchronous learning in virtual schools.

Kindergarten
  • 180 synchronous learning minutes 
  • 120 asynchronous learning minutes
Grades 1-3
  • 225 synchronous learning minutes 
  • 75 asynchronous learning minutes
Grades 4-8
  • 225 synchronous learning minutes 
  • 75 asynchronous learning minutes
Grades 9-12
  • 225 synchronous learning minutes 
  • 75 asynchronous learning minutes

Can students be exempted from Synchronous Learning? Can I receive a paper package?

  • Students may be exempted from the minimum requirements on a case-by-case basis.

  • Parents will be required to complete an Exemption from Synchronous Learning Request and provide a clear rationale for the exemption request. Exemption from synchronous learning may be requested by parents/guardians or by students who are 18 years of age or older (or students who are 16 or 17 years of age, but have withdrawn from parental control).

  • To support meaningful access to education, alternative learning approaches will be put in place for all exempted students. For example, correspondence, print, or broadcast media instruction that is based on the individual student's needs and circumstances.

Will students be allowed to switch between virtual and in-person learning?

Changing your child's learning delivery model, i.e., opting in or out of face to face (in-class) learning, impacts classroom cohorts, staffing and transportation routes. School staff need time to organize, prepare and adjust staffing requirements and as a result we are unable to accommodate students moving from one delivery model to another.

Parents/Caregivers will have an opportunity to re-evaluate at natural breaks in the school year. Requests to change the delivery model may occur as follows:
  • Requests submitted no later than October 23rd will be processed for transfer on November 18th at the elementary level and November 12 at the secondary level.
Requests for transfer outside of these time frames may be considered on a case by case basis and with approval of the Superintendent of Education.

Can parents send their child to school for part of the week and do distance learning the rest of the week?

No. Students must either attend school in person or participate in the SMC Virtual School.

How will work be graded for students enrolled in the SMC Virtual School?

Students will be assessed and evaluated based on achievement of the curriculum expectations, and will receive feedback, progress reports and report cards.

What if my child cannot participate in the virtual school (e.g., no technology, wifi, etc)?

  • If a student is not able to access technology or the internet, we will have support in place to ensure that the student is equipped with the necessary tools to participate in remote learning.

  • If a student is not able to participate in the Virtual School for other reasons, we will explore other options for program delivery based on the student and family’s individual needs.

What support will be in place for students with special education needs or unique learning needs?

Support for students with special education needs will be coordinated by the school based team. Key considerations include Individual Education Plans (IEPs), IPRC meetings, transition supports, individual student plans and targeted interventions, safety protocols for students with high levels of medical needs, or classroom modifications for specialized classes, and more.

How will the board support mental health and well-being?

Support and training will be implemented in order to support the well-being of students, staff and parents. Areas of support will include, but are not limited to, mental health staff available in both in-person and remote formats, school-based trauma informed approach to help students feel safe to learn, social emotional learning tools and training used by staff to support students, ongoing mental health and wellness tools and activities for staff, students and parents, wellness tasks embedded into all grades in both virtual and in-person formats, direct intervention and clinical support for students requiring a higher level of support, and more.

Will attendance be taken for the Virtual School?

  • Student attendance will be taken daily at the elementary level twice a day and per course at the secondary level. 

  • Safe Arrival procedures will continue at the elementary level and the Virtual School will contact all students with unexpected absences.

  • Grade 9-12 students’ parents/guardians will be notified by phone of a student’s absence.   Parents will have the option to verify student absences from the Shoretel automated callout system.  If a student’s absences accumulate without proper parental/guardian consent, teaching staff and/or administration will contact parents/guardians.

What supplies do I need for remote learning?

Teachers will connect with students prior the first day of learning to provide expectations and requirements for online learning.

Can a student get a paper package, but also be part of a virtual classroom?

No. A student can either participate in a virtual classroom and learning in an online format OR work with a teacher via paper packages.

The choice has to be made between the two remote learning options because different teachers will be assigned to each role.