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Supporting our Elementary School Students

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Conventional Delivery Model for Students Returning to In-Person Learning

  • Elementary schools will reopen with conventional in-person delivery of learning, with enhanced health and safety protocols,.
  • Elementary school students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will attend school five (5) days per week, with 300 minutes of instruction per day, remaining in one cohort for the full day, including recess and lunch.
  • Cohorted classes will stay together with one teacher, where possible. Students may leave their classrooms to receive additional support. Ensure distancing, mask, hand hygiene and respiratory protocols are followed.
  • In a full attendance, five-day per week model, restrictions will be put in place to limit student movement from class to class where possible.
  • Specialized teachers (FSL, the Arts, Health and Physical Education) will continue to go into classrooms to provide the full breadth of programming for students.
  • Students may be pulled into smaller groups for supports with students from other cohorts based on local health advice.

Remote (Virtual) Delivery Model for Students Learning from Home

  • We will continue to operate the Virtual Catholic Elementary School as a remote (online) learning option for elementary students during the 2021-22 school year.
  • Students will be assigned to a classroom teacher and receive synchronous and asynchronous instruction throughout the day, in accordance with the following Ministry of Education guidelines:
    • Kindergarten:  300 minutes of instruction per day; 180 minutes of synchronous learning time
    • Grades 1-8: 300 minutes of instruction per day; 225 minutes of synchronous learning time
  • Teachers will support students in large and small group instruction throughout the day, and staff will engage in ongoing and regular synchronous ‘Check & Connect’ with students.
  • During the 2021-2022 school year, the Virtual Catholic Elementary School will operate on a Balanced Day Schedule.
  • Students will receive timetables outlining weekly schedules for all classes.

Balanced Day Sample Schedule

Start Time8:30 am
Period 1 (60 min)8:30 am - 9:30 am (Morning exercises included in this time)
Period 2 (40 min)9:30 am - 10:10 am
Morning Nutrition Break (40 min)10:10 am - 10:50 am
Period 3 (40 min)10:50 am - 11:30 am
Period 4 (40 min)11:30 am - 12:10 pm
Afternoon Nutrition Break (40 min)12:10 pm - 12:50 pm
Period 5 (40 min)12:50 pm - 1:30 pm
Period 6 (40 min)1:30 pm - 2:10 pm
Period 7 (40 min)2:10 pm - 3:00 pm
Dismissal 3:00 pm

Parent and Family Resources

  • Read the Parent Handbook for an overview of the Virtual Catholic Elementary School Model for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Learn more about the HCDSB Virtual Catholic Elementary School by watching the Parent Information Video

Switching Between Conventional Learning and Remote Learning in Elementary Schools

An opportunity to change the learning environment for elementary students will be offered in January 2022. All parents and guardians with children enrolled in an HCDSB elementary school will receive an invitation to complete the Change of Learning Environment Form.  Requested changes will take effect as of Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

Academic Programs and Requirements


Music programs are permitted in areas with adequate ventilation (read ventilation). Singing and the use of wind instruments will be permitted:

  • Where feasible, music programs (including singing and use of wind instruments) are held outdoors, with as much distance as possible between students.
  • Music programs are allowed indoors with adequate ventilation and physical distancing of two meters or more between individuals. Masking during singing is also encouraged.
  • If wind instruments are shared between students, they must be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Rehearsals may be conducted virtually.

Staff Resource:

Refer to the Ontario Music Educators’ Association resource for suggestions on teaching music in line with current public health recommendations.


Health & Physical Education

In elementary Health and Physical Education courses, the use of gymnasiums, change rooms, weight rooms, indoor physical education equipment and shared outdoor equipment are permitted with distancing.

High and low contact activities are permitted indoors and outdoors as follows:

  • Masking is not required when playing high or low contact activities outdoors.
  • Masking is encouraged for indoor sports where they can be worn safely based on the activity.
  • Windows should be opened when feasible to increase ventilation.

Key health and safety measures that will be in place for indoor physical activity in a gymnasium will include:

  • Cohorting
  • Hand hygiene before and after activity
  • Maintaining physical distancing (2 metres) at all times
  • Modifying sports to avoid body contact between players

Other considerations for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission during gymnasium/exercise classes include:

  • Staff must use appropriate PPE (including masks) while indoors and outdoors when 2 metres physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained.
  • Teachers will plan physical activities that support physical distancing.
  • Schools will develop a plan for changing rooms with limited capacity to accommodate physical distancing.
  • When different cohorts interact in shared indoor spaces, 2 metres distancing should be maintained between cohorts.
  • Masks should be worn when the activity safely permits.
  • Shared equipment will be disinfected regularly.
  • Weight rooms must be disinfected between use and used solely for the purposes of student learning and programming.
  • Gymnasiums and weight rooms will not be open for personal use at this time.

Field Trips

  • Day and overnight field trips are permitted, however, will be on hold in HCDSB schools until further direction.
  • Trips related to certifications (e.g., co-op course certifications, including students with special education needs/life skills students in co-op placements) and Inter-school competitions may resume.

All field trips will follow the relevant provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act; as well as the following requirements:

  • Anyone entering the area must be screened upon arrival and the pick-up/drop-off of students should happen outside of the area or within a designated and isolated area.
  • Students should be cohorted throughout the duration of the trip, with the number of students and staff to a cohort varying based on grouping arrangements.
  • Keeping daily accurate records of individuals entering the program setting (name, contact information, time of arrival/departure, screening completion) is required to facilitate contact tracing. This information must be kept by the lead staff member participating in the field trip.
  • Staff are considered visitors when visiting other schools and must follow visitor protocol.
  • Staggering arrival and departure times is recommended to support cohorting and physical distancing measures.
  • Operating programs in consistent cohorts (with assigned staff members) who stay together is recommended throughout the duration of the program.


For the 2021-22 school year, regular EQAO assessments for Grades 3 and 6 will resume in the new digital format for math, reading and writing. 

Before and After School Program

In circumstances where students from different school day classes must interact during the BASP, efforts will be made to limit interactions between students from different cohorts to the greatest extent possible.  Schools and Before and After School Programs will collaborate to ensure that student lists and information are maintained and readily available to be provided to public health for contact tracing purposes in accordance with all applicable legislation, including the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Before and After School Program, in conjunction with School Administrators, will determine which licensed classrooms and school spaces will be used prior to the beginning of the school year.

  • Before and After School Program, in conjunction with School Administrators, will determine entrance point and an isolation space prior to the start of school.
  • Before and After School Program will ensure all staff, visitors and students following the provincial COVID-19 screening tool and students must show proof of completion prior to entry into the program
  • Before and After School Program providers will be responsible to disinfect before and after the core school day. The Board will ensure the approved cleaning/disinfecting supplies are available
  • For the purposes of the Before and After School Program, students will be grouped by family or class/cohorts, where possible.
  • Group sizing and ratios will follow Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA).
  • The Ministry of Education Before and After School Programs Kindergarten-Grade 6, Policies and Guidelines for School Boards 2021-2022 School Year, Version 4-August 2021 will be the guiding principle for Before and After School Programs.
  • Procedures will be established to ensure attendance, contact tracing and communication between Before and After School Programs, School Administration and the Manager of DECEs and Child Care.



Special Education

Adult and Continuing Education

Newcomer Families & ESL Students