In line with guidance from the Ministry of Education, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will offer two learning scenarios:

Learning In-Person At School

In-Person Learning at School

Remote Learning

In-Person Learning at School

Staggered start for Secondary students

Secondary students will be returning to in-person learning in a staggered format with the exception of students in the ACE, Bridges and ESL/ELD Programs. Students in these programs will begin attending full-time on September 7.

Grade 9 and 10 students only will attend on Tuesday, September 7. Grade 11 and 12 students only will attend on Wednesday, September 8. All students will attend together from Thursday, September 9 onwards.

Tuesday, September 7 Wednesday, September 8 Thursday, September 9
Grade 9 and 10 students Grade 11 and 12 students All Secondary students

Students participating in Alternative Education Programs in Cambridge or Waterloo will be contacted by educators from their respective programs regarding the first day of in-person attendance.

Secondary students who are learning in person at school in September will see some changes from last year. We heard from our students and their families that it was challenging to study one course each day because of the volume of material being covered. With this in mind, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will divide the school year into modified semesters for secondary students in September 2021.

What is a modified semester model?

The daily schedule for a 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.

Students will attend school in person every day, together with their classmates. Secondary students will be taking 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. We believe this approach will help to address the stress and isolation many students reported they experienced as part of the quadmester model. See the information below to learn more about how we are supporting student well-being all year long.

Sample Schedule

Week One Daily Schedule

Course 1 Learning Block (AM) 150 minutes
Nutrition Break 40 minutes
Course 2 Learning Block (PM) 150 minutes

Week Two Daily Schedule

Course 3 Learning Block (AM) 150 minutes
Nutrition Break 40 minutes
Course 4 Learning Block (PM) 150 minutes

Will students be divided into cohorts in September 2021?

All students will be returning to in-person learning every day and students will no longer be cohorted into classes of 15.


School buses will operate at full capacity. Students are required to wear a mask while riding the bus. Students riding the bus will be assigned seating.


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.

Secondary Remote Learning Program (SRLP)

The WRDSB is offering a Remote Learning Program for students who wish to learn virtually. WRDSB’s Secondary Remote Learning Program (SRLP) will offer a limited selection of courses in each grade level in all program pathways: locally developed/essential, workplace preparation, applied, college preparation, academic, and university preparation.

Where students require specific courses not available through the SRLP, they will then have the option to select from a catalogue of E-learning courses. The SRLP will not include access to system programs, such as Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM), Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Integrated Arts, French Immersion/Extended French or other school specialized programs, which will only be available through in-person schools.

Learning in the SRLP

Classes will be led by qualified teachers following a daily schedule similar to in-person students. The time students will spend in remote learning will be the same amount of time as students who are learning in-person. Students will engage in a combination of asynchronous and synchronous (during school hours) learning to achieve the 110 hours of instruction per course. Students and parents will be provided with a daily schedule or timetable that includes 150 minutes of learning opportunities per course, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

The schedule for students in the SRLP will be divided into modified semesters for students in September 2021. View more information on modified semesters.

It will be expected that students participate every day and daily attendance will be taken. Families will be contacted in the case of an unreported absence to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.

SRLP staff will begin with a focus on building relationships, connecting with students and families, and assessing the learning needs of students. Teachers will spend time ensuring that families have the appropriate and necessary technology and resources, establishing routines and ensuring the students gain familiarity with the WRDSB Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Ontario curriculum will be taught, assessed and evaluated. SRLP teachers will provide synchronous learning opportunities which may include individual or small group support (video conferencing via Google Meet, phone calls), mini-lessons and content/skill-based instruction, as appropriate.

Special Education, Specialized Program Classes and IEPs

Our experience during the 2020-2021 school year has shown that in-person learning is the best format to support students with special education needs, particularly those in congregated classes and alternative education programs.

Students with special education needs will continue to be supported with the necessary accommodations, modifications, or alternative programs provided in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).


WRDSB families and students who require support with technology can refer to the Tech@Home website, which offers information on how to troubleshoot common issues with Chromebooks and iPads. You can quickly access this website using the button found on school websites.


Accessing Academic and Social-Emotional Support

Students will continue to be considered part of their home school, but shared with a Secondary Remote Learning Program (SRLP). Students will be grouped with students who are from different schools. Teachers will be teaching students not only from their school, but from schools across the region.

The home school staff that support our students will continue to do so in the SRLP. For example, the home school Guidance teacher will support our SRLP students with any course choice adjustments and pathway to graduation decisions.