Update June 28, 2021: The TDSB continues to consider details of the modified semester for all secondary schools and has now finalized the school year calendar and daily schedule that all secondary schools will be following.
In May, we shared the decision that the TDSB was continuing with a quadmester model for the 2021-2022 school year based on direction from the Ministry of Education. Following that message, we heard from many members of our community -- staff, students and families -- about their concerns of this model and, as a result, we continued to explore solutions that would better meet the needs of all students while continuing to meet all public health and Ministry of Education guidelines.
We have worked with both the Ministry of Education and Toronto Public Health and, as a result of the declining COVID-19 cases and the increasing vaccination rates of students aged 12 and older, we have received approval that we can move forward with a modified semester model in secondary schools for the 2021-2022 school year.
In this model, students will take four courses, two each during alternating weeks. They will continue to be cohorted but will now be part of four cohorts (one for each class). Toronto Public Health supports this model as the 48 hour gap between the weekly cohorts will limit any potential spread of COVID-19 as 48 hours is the time between exposure to first symptoms of a number of the variants of concern. Class sizes will return to the regular class sizes (dependent on grade, level and subject) and all learning will either be fully in-person, or fully virtual, depending on the selection you make in August.
The modified semester offers more face-to-face time between students and teachers, encouraging an opportunity to build relationships and support an increased sense of belonging in class. It also offers a slower pace by learning over a longer period of time than the quadmester model.
Adult Day Schools will follow the same schedule as the 2020-21 school year for the first quadmester and will make adjustments accordingly throughout the year. Consideration was also given to schools with secondary Intensive Support Programs (ISP). Secondary congregated sites will continue to offer the semester model. Secondary schools with Developmental Disability (DD) programs will follow a dual-track (a Semester model for students in DD programs and a Modified Semester). Students in all other secondary ISPs which include: Mild Intellectual Disability (MID), Learning Disability (LD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), Physical Disability (PD) and Gifted, who are typically timetabled into Special Education classes and regular school courses will follow the modified semester model for 2021-22 to ensure ongoing integration.
We are currently finalizing the exact schedules for the new school year, but we wanted to share this important update with you now and will share additional details as they are confirmed.