Learning and Instruction

learning iconReturning to Exceptional Learning and Instruction


School this September will feel a little different, but we are still committed to provide the same exceptional learning and instruction as we always have.

Below you will find more details on what elementary, secondary, remote and special education learning will look like this year:


Elementary In-Class Learning

  • The elementary schedule will look very similar to what you were used to last year.

  • Students will be cohorted with their classmates and their homeroom teacher, with limited contact with other subject teachers. The maximum number of student contacts at a school is 50. 

  • Bell times, i.e., school start and end times will stay the same or very similar to what was in place for your school last year, but entry into the building will be staggered through different entry or exit points in order to ensure students remain in their cohort. 

  • From Grades 1 to 8, students will have teaching blocks in all subject areas including religion, French, the arts, science and technology and health and phys ed.  

  • Time will be provided everyday for nutrition breaks and outside activities with their student cohort.

  • Daily outdoor activities with the classroom cohort will be used to give students a break from wearing masks. Physical distancing measures will be implemented outside.

  • All learning activities inside and outside the classroom will adhere to public health guidelines such as physical distancing, not sharing materials, etc. 

  • The Kindergarten program will continue to be play and inquiry based. Kindergarten educators will use small groupings, outdoor spaces, individual materials to provide as rich a learning experience for children as possible. 

  • There may be some modifications to schedules in order to meet the cohorting guidelines of no more than 50 contacts. 

  • Principals will provide more information about the school day set up prior to the first day of school. 

  • Classroom teaching assignments will be sent via email to families before the first day of school.

  • Families should send students with a healthy lunch and enough snacks for two nutrition breaks as well as a water bottle (since water fountains will be decommissioned). 

Secondary In-Class Learning

  • High school students will attend five days a week with 300 minutes of class time per day. 

  • At the secondary level, a student cohort, i.e., number of other students they come into contact with throughout the course of the day at school should not exceed 100

  • In order to maintain this student cohort, secondary schools will be using a quadmester school timetable.

  •  In a “quadmester” system students will have two periods for ¼ of the year as follows:

Quad #1: Period 1 & 2 from September 10 until November 9
Quad #2: Period 3 & 4 from November 12 until January 28
Quad #3: Period 5 & 6 from February 3 until April 16
Quad #4: Period 7 & 8 from April 21 to June 23     

  • Students will take two courses in each quadmester.

  • Students will attend five days a week with 300 minutes of class time per day.

  • Only one course will be taken each day for one week at a time. The following week, students will switch to their other course. This is a necessary measure in order to ensure student cohorts are maintained. 

  • Students are encouraged to bring a computer, chromebook or tablet if they have one available

  • All students will participate in 10 minute breaks and a 40 minute lunch, which will be staggered throughout the day based on grades and cohorts. 

  • The in-class school schedule will be aligned with the bussing schedules as closely as possible.

  • Course selections and timetables will be confirmed by the school before school starts.

Remote Learning

  • We are creating two virtual schools - one for elementary and another for secondary for students who have opted for the remote learning program. 

  • There will be a principal, vice-principal and office & clerical and special education staff assigned to provide administrative support to the virtual school. 

  • Students will be enrolled in the virtual school not their "home" school 

  • Students will be able to return to their home school at natural transition times in the school year, e.g., the end of the first quadmester in secondary and/or the end of the Progress Reporting period for elementary. Reasonable exceptions may be made on a case by case basis. 

  • The remote learning program will mirror the in-class learning program as much as possible.

  • Students will receive both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

  • Students will be clustered into virtual classrooms which will include other students from a number of different schools.

  • Students will receive schedules and instruction based on a five hour school day.

  • Instruction will be provided based on the Ontario curriculum expectations across all grades and subject areas.

  • Attendance will be taken and students can expect a mixture of live learning sessions as well as video recorded sessions and independent work.

  • Assignments will be expected to be completed and teachers will assess and provide feedback on student learning.

  • Families who require technology or internet support will be able to access it through the board.

  • The remote learning program will begin on September 14th.

  • More information about the remote learning program is available on the Virtual Learning Fact Sheet and will be sent to families by their Virtual School via email prior to school start-up.

Special Education

  • We know that our students who have special education needs will require additional support and resources for a smooth transition back to school.

  • Board office staff, Special Education Resource Teachers (SERTs) and Educational Assistants (EA’s) will provide support and resources to families prior to school start-up.

  • All students with special education needs will have attendance options including daily in school attendance or remote learning and will have access to a Special Education Resource Teacher or other specialized staff as per their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

  • Students with complex medical needs will also have the option to attend daily and staff will be provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

  • Remote learning where return to school is not possible will be available. Schools will collaborate with families and health care providers to ensure support is in place to meet the needs of students.

  •  Specific details about Individual Education Plans (IEPs), specialized equipment and technology, staff supports, etc. are available through our Return to School Special Education Fact Sheet 

  • Parents can view some excellent video resources in order to assist their child with transitioning back to school.