Frequently asked questions about learning in-person at school

Will secondary schools be running quadmesters again?

No. For semester one (September 7, 2021 to February 1, 2022, we will be using a modified semester for secondary students.

All students will attend school in person every day, with their classmates. Students will be learning two courses each day, with one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Students will receive 150 minutes of instruction daily on each subject, with a 40 minute nutrition break in between.

Why was the modified semester model chosen?

The modified semester model allows students to return to school for full days and to take four courses instead of two. Students would take two courses one week and their other two courses the next week.

When will school start and end times be, and if the hours are school-specific will they return to what they were pre-pandemic?

Each school will be releasing their own start and end times. Start times will be similar to pre-pandemic start times while end times will be a little earlier to ensure bus cleaning.

Will literacy tests take place this year?

The literacy graduation requirement is waived for students graduating in the 2021-22 school year. The literacy graduation requirement will be restored for students graduating in the 2022-23 school year. Students in Grades 10 and 11 and non-graduating students, including those who are learning remotely, are required to work towards the literacy graduation requirement, through participation in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT), adjudication or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).

Will exams take place this year?

Educators will use a variety of assessment strategies to evaluate and report on student achievement. In our modified semester format we will continue with student support days (two at mid-semester and three at end of the semester).

How many volunteer hours are required to graduate? Will paid experiences still be eligible?

The community involvement graduation requirement has been reduced from 40 hours to a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement activities for students graduating in the 2021-22 school year. Temporary changes to reduce barriers students may face to earn their community involvement hours and provide greater flexibility in how they earn their hours will continue for the 2021-22 school year. The community involvement graduation requirement of 40 hours will be restored in 2022-23 and students working towards their OSSD will be supported to meet these requirements in time for their graduating year.

Will students be able to sing indoors?

Students will be able to sing indoors while wearing masks.

Field trips

Will students be participating in field trips to third-party sites including overnight trips?

We will be taking a staged approach to the reintroduction of field trips and off-campus excursions. Guidelines are in development to ensure that staff and student health and safety are supported during these learning opportunities.

Outdoor education

Will students be visiting the Outdoor Education centres this year for field trips?

Yes, trips to Outdoor Education Centres are permitted and should follow the relevant provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. The excursions will be subject to a staged implementation.

Will the Outdoor Education centres be operating this year?


Shared spaces

Will students be allowed to eat in their school hallways?

This will vary by school, depending on the ability to supervise students and available space.

Will cafeterias be available for students to access?

Access to the cafeteria will vary by school. In some sites, cafeterias will be required to provide an eating location for some students.

Please note: prepared food will not be available. Limited vending machine options will be available.

Will student nutrition programs be permitted to operate in schools again?

Yes. We are preparing operational guidance to support volunteers in schools. The re-introduction of these programs will use a staged approach.

Can students leave the school building and eat off-campus during break or lunch?

Yes. Secondary students will be allowed to leave the school building to eat off-campus during break/lunch periods. Schools will develop site-based procedures.

Will water fountains be open?

No. Students and staff are required to bring their own water bottles. Bottle filling stations (water dispensers) can be used to fill individual water bottles.

Will lockers be back in use?

Students’ use of lockers may be permitted this year. Schools will develop individual guidelines appropriate for their site. Lockers, if used, may not be immediately available for the first day of school.

Will bathroom protocols similar to last year’s remain?

Yes. Schools will timetable bathroom breaks in the school day to stagger use of bathrooms and monitor physical distancing. Signage will be posted that indicates the maximum number of people simultaneously using the bathroom at any given point. Individual students will not be prevented from accessing bathrooms as needed.

Will student council events and full or partial assemblies return?

Yes. At this time, school assemblies will be virtual or outdoors (weather permitting) with 2m of spacing between class cohorts.

Sports and extracurriculars

Will there be clubs, sports and extra-curricular activities this school year?

The re-introduction of clubs, sports and extra-curricular activities will use a staged approach, pending release of safety guidelines.