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Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: September 9, 2021

Have questions about the 2021-2022 school year? Find answers to questions about the following topics:

Please note that these FAQs may continue to change as we are anticipating additional information/updates from the Ministry of Education and Toronto Public Health.

Curriculum and Programs

Will schools continue to offer health and physical education?
Adaptations to some in-person learning program delivery models, for example health and physical education, may be necessary in order to adhere to enhanced safety protocols and Toronto Public Health guidance. Schools will determine the best approach.

Will elementary students have the same teacher for the entire school year?
As part of our annual process, some staffing adjustments for both in-person and remote classrooms may be required in mid-September as we work to address long-term occasional teaching and surplus positions. This is also likely for St. Anne Catholic Academy, School of Virtual Learning classrooms. This process happens every year as enrollment stabilizes by the end of September.

Will specialty programs be offered for both in-person and virtual learning models?
At this time elementary specialty programs such as French Immersion and Extended French will be offered in the in-person learning environment only.

What is happening with community involvement hours for high school students?
For the 2021 – 2022 school year, the community involvement graduation requirement will continue to be 20 hours of community involvement activities. Visit the Community Involvement Hours page for more information.

Will Co-op Placements happen this fall?
Yes, TCDSB is running both in-person and virtual placements for our students. Students can attend in-person placements and OYAP programs once schools reopen.

Will any school trips be taking place this year?
Information regarding field trips and other activities that require group transportation will be shared as we work with our public health partners to develop parameters for 2021-2022 school excursions.

UPDATED! Will sports and extra-curricular activities be taking place this year?
Toronto Public Health has updated the COVID-19 Guidance for Schools JK to Grade 12 recommending that schools and school boards place a pause on extra-curricular activities, field trips and high contact sports with mixed cohorts for the month of September. All curriculum related activities such as physical education will continue as previously planned. The TCDSB will continue to provide families with updates regarding extra-curricular activities as they become available.

Secondary Schools Modified Semester

All students and staff in secondary schools should have received both vaccinations by the time school starts, why can’t we go back to a “normal” semester model?
The Ministry of Education continues to limit the number of courses a student can carry during the day to two courses per day. Students will carry 4 courses at a time for the entire semester. Carrying 2 courses daily then switching to the other 2 courses on alternating weeks allows for students to be cohorted. This can assist with contact tracing and limits the number of students who must isolate if a positive case is confirmed. 

School boards cannot return to a semester model in which students carry multiple courses at a time on a daily basis until this Ministry requirement to only carry 2 courses at a time is amended or removed.

What is the difference between a quadmester and a modified semester?
In a quadmester, students take two courses at a time for a condensed, 10-week period, four times per year. At the end of the academic year, students will have had the opportunity to complete 8 courses, but in four 4 distinct quadmesters.

In a modified semester, students carry two courses per day for one week, then two different courses per day the next week, alternating over the course of a regular semester. Students are carrying 4 courses for the semester, but only take 2 courses per week. This allows for the continued cohorting of students for contact tracing and potential isolation purposes. A modified semester does not change the usual school start and end times and students would remain at school for the regular day.

If students are in a modified semester carrying 4 courses per semester, why can’t we go to a normal semester?
As long as the Ministry requires students to carry no more than 2 courses per day, with a 48-hour window between the mixing of cohorts, students are limited to 2 classes per day a week at a time. A modified semester is as close as a school board can get to a normal semester, while still adhering to the current Ministry requirements.

Health and Safety

Do vaccinated staff and students still need to wear a mask at school?
At this time, Toronto Public Health (TPH) continues to advise that all students are required to wear non-medical or cloth masks/face coverings indoors on school property, and outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained. If a student can't wear a face mask for medical reasons, a prevalent medical conditions form must be completed with medical practitioner documentation. The school will try to accommodate the student as best as possible taking into consideration the student’s well being and the safety of others. Please note that a face shield is not a replacement for a face mask.

All staff members are required to wear a medical grade mask, and will be provided with and required to wear personal protective equipment such as medical grade masks and face shields to safely interact with students and staff.

Will students be required to wear masks outdoors during recess?
Students are not required to wear masks outdoors during recess, unless they cannot maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres from each other.

Is vaccination a mandatory requirement for students to attend in-person learning?
No. Students are not required to be vaccinated to attend in-person learning.

Will rapid tests be made available to TCDSB students and staff?
We continue to work with Toronto Public Health and the Government of Ontario. We anticipate updates regarding the availability of rapid tests will be shared over the summer ahead of September 2021, and will continue to provide families with updates as they become available. 

Prompt testing in secondary schools will be provided with test kits to take home. More details will be provided.

What other health and safety measures can be expected to keep staff and students safe?

  • Daily screening will continue.
  • Mandatory masks for everyone at school.
  • Portable hand-washing stations have been installed on floors with classrooms that don't have washrooms.
  • A number of touch-less sanitizers have been placed where a portable wash unit cannot be placed.
  • School boards are continuing to upgrade ventilation. Schools without mechanical ventilation will have stand alone high efficiency HEPA filters in place in each classroom. HEPA filters will be in place in all JK/SK schools/classrooms regardless if there is mechanical ventilation or not.
  • Where maintaining physical distancing is challenging, plexiglass and portable shielding for offices, administrative areas and student desks may be installed in schools.

What happens if a student is ill and showing symptoms?
We continue to expect students to complete the TCDSB Screening Passport​ daily before attending school. Please refer to this decision guide produced by Toronto Public Health.

When a child is ready to return to school (cleared by Toronto Public Health or fully recovered), families are asked to send in a completed attestation form.

What happens when a staff member is diagnosed with COVID?
The Toronto Catholic District School Board continues to follow direction from the Government of Ontario, who has provided a recommended process for school boards to follow in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school. School principals will also follow the School Reporting Protocol for positive cases of COVID-19.

What happens if the whole class or school must be closed?
Toronto Public Health is responsible for declaring an outbreak, which occurs when there are two or more positive cases in a school, within a 14-day period, with at least one infection traced back to the school environment. It is important to note that an outbreak does not, in and of itself, trigger a class/cohort or school to close.

If a whole class must be isolated, or if a full closure of the school is required, affected students and staff will all move to virtual learning for the isolation period using the pre-established Brightspace or Google Classroom. If only one child is isolated, the standard protocol for a student absence would be followed, and the teacher would provide work using the pre-established Brightspace or Google Classroom. Please refer to the Transition to Distance Learning document for details.

Will physical distancing still be required?
The following measures have been taken to facilitate student and staff physical distancing:
  • Classrooms are organized to encourage the maximum space between students. Floors are marked with decals to designate one-way traffic flow and identifying 2 metre distances in key areas.
  • Signage is placed throughout the building to reinforce safety protocols.
  • Where physical distancing is not possible in school offices and public reception areas, alternative methods of separation such as plexiglass barriers may be used.
  • In order to reduce the potential for larger gatherings of students, we will be limiting occupancy levels in common areas such as hallways, stairwells and libraries.

How are physical distancing requirements being adhered to during fire drills?
Please refer to the resources from the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario:

How can my child eat lunch safely during the day since they are attending all day?
Students will have about 40 minutes to eat their lunch outside of the regular instructional time. Students who eat lunch in the school will eat lunch with one of their daily cohorts. Students will eat in various locations within each school according to space availability. If appropriate, students may be able to eat outside. Schools will identify other appropriate eating spaces in the building keeping safety protocols at the forefront. Consistent with local school policies, students may leave the school property for lunchtime.

How often will schools be cleaned?
Caretaking staff will perform thorough cleaning of general facilities throughout the day and will conduct cleaning of high touch surfaces such as light switches, handrails, door handles, etc. as required. Washrooms will be cleaned frequently; and shared items will be used minimally and disinfected between users.

Will shared spaces and materials (e.g.: cafeteria, gym and library) be available to students?
Students will be able to access space in the cafeteria, gym, library and computer/technology labs in their school. When different cohorts interact in shared indoor spaces, masking and as much distancing as possible should be maintained between cohorts. More information on these spaces will be provided once available.

Can lockers or cubbies be used?
The use of lockers / cubbies is permitted.

Special Education and Individual Education Plans

My child will be attending school in-person and has special education needs. Where do I get more information about my child’s transition back to school?
School principals have been reaching out to families of students with complex special education needs to help support a successful transition back to school. This local school outreach will continue as we approach the beginning of the school year. Parents with specific concerns about their child are encouraged to reach out to the school principal.

My secondary child with special education needs will be learning remotely through the hybrid model. Where do I get more information about connecting remotely with my child’s teacher?
Your child’s class will include students who are learning in-person and some who are learning at home. All information regarding remote learning through the hybrid model will be coming from the staff at your child’s school. Parents with specific concerns about their child are encouraged to reach out to the local school principal.

My elementary child with special education needs will be attending St. Anne Catholic Academy, Jr. How will I receive information about my child’s class and teacher?
The administrative team from St. Anne will be sharing information with parents electronically in the days ahead through the email that parents have provided to the board.

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Learning Models and Transfer

Can my child in elementary switch learning models from in-person to virtual or virtual to in-person learning?
Please see July 16, 2021 communication to families regarding registration for 2021-2022 school year learning models. As the letter states, the learning model choice families select for their child(ren) in Summer 2021 will be effective for the entire 2021-2022 school year.

As per the Admissions Policy, families will have the ability to make a transfer request to an in-person or home school, or to St. Anne Catholic Academy, Virtual School of Learning from in-person learning; however, transfers will only be fulfilled if there is space. Families whose transfer requests cannot be accommodated immediately will be placed on a waitlist until there is an opportunity to transfer. In instances where there is no availability, a request to transfer may not be possible.

I missed the deadline to register for my child’s learning model. What happens now?
All students will be assumed to be in-person unless indicated otherwise. Non-responses will be considered in-person registrations.

Will elementary students learning remotely in 2021-2022 be part of an in-person or home school?
For those families that register their child(ren) in remote learning in 2021-2022, your child will be a student of St Anne, School of Virtual Learning and will not be part of their current in-person or home school.

Will elementary students learning remotely in 2021-2022 be guaranteed a spot back at their home school in 2022-2023?
We are working with school administration to ensure your child will have a spot for the 2022-2023 school year.

Can my child transfer from remote learning to in-person learning this school year?
Under extenuating circumstances, dependent on allocated space at the school, some transfer requests may be accommodated.​

Will in-person and virtual learning offer the same amount of instruction time?
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 will receive 300 minutes of instruction per day, whether they are registered for in-person or remote learning. For detailed information about what to expect for both learning models, review these documents - elementary school learning model​ | secondary school learning model.