Secondary student in class

Supporting our Secondary School Students

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Conventional Delivery Model for Secondary Students Returning to In-Person Learning

  • Secondary schools will provide daily in-person learning for the full duration of the school day (five instructional hours).
  • As per the Ministry of Education, school boards have been instructed to timetable students with no more than two courses at a time in order to preserve the option of reverting to more restrictive measures, if needed.
  • HCDSB will offer a quadmester model with two (2) courses per quadmester.
    • Students will attend two (2) classes per day.
    • Two (2) credits will be earned  for a 10-week period (quadmester). Four (4) credits will be earned per semester.
  • Students will receive breaks during each period and a 40-minute lunch during Period 2.
  • Four (4) separate lunch periods will be help limit contacts.

Sample Schedule

HCDSB Secondary Student Sample Schedule

* breaks and transition times to be scheduled at the school level

Download as PDF

Hybrid Delivery Model for Secondary Students Learning Remotely

  • Remote (virtual) learning in our HCDSB secondary schools will remain an option, using the same hybrid model implemented during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • All remote learning platforms (D2L, Google classroom, Office 365) are accessible for persons with disabilities and students with special education needs.

Choosing Between In-Person Learning and Remote Learning in Secondary Schools​

  • Parents/guardians (or students over 18) may request a change between in-person and remote learning. Requests should be submitted to the School Principal.
  • An opportunity to switch from remote (virtual) to in-person instruction will be offered at the start of each new quadmester.
  • Requests to switch from in-person to remote (virtual) instruction may be made at any time.

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 secondary 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, 2m 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.

Co-operative Education

As per the requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, in-person community placements for students enrolled in co-operative education courses may be arranged in alignment with the relevant provincial the direction and recommendations of the local health unit, the direction of the school board, and with the safety and curriculum requirements of the Cooperative Education curriculum (PDF).

If in-person placements are not possible, students should be offered virtual placements. In the event that public health guidance or direction changes during a placement and the student cannot complete their co-op placement in-person or virtually, educators will work with the student to modify their co-op learning plans to allow the student to achieve the curriculum expectations and earn the credit(s).  This includes our students with special education needs/life skills students in co-op placements.  


For the 2021-22 school year, students in Grade 9 Mathematics will write the Grade 9 Math digital adaptive assessment and the results of the assessment may count towards up to 10% of the student’s final mark. EQAO assessments are required to be done in-person at the school. Students learning remotely can choose to participate in the EQAO assessments in-person at the discretion of the school board as long as all applicable health and safety measures can be met.

Literacy Graduation Requirement

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).

Community Involvement Graduation Requirements

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 should be supported to meet these requirements in time for their graduating year.



Special Education

Adult and Continuing Education

Newcomer Families & ESL Students