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Request to be Exempt from the Minimum Requirements of Synchronous Learning

In accordance with requirements outlined by the Ministry of Education in Policy/Program Memorandum No. 164, individual requests for an exemption from the minimum requirements for synchronous learning (see table below) will be made to the School Superintendent, or their designate, who will ensure that alternative learning approaches are put in place for all exempted students, and respond in writing to all exemption requests. Teachers will be responsible for all aspects of instructional programming for exempted students. Approved exemptions will be stored in the student’s Ontario Student Record and will expire three months after the date of approval. Exemptions can be extended beyond the 3-month period by re-applying for another exemption prior to the expiration date. 

 

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Requests for an exemption must be made using the online form or by submitting a hard copy form to the homeschool. The form can be printed from the TDSB Exemption webpage or by picking up a hardcopy from the home school. Exemptions from synchronous (live, interactive) learning may be requested by parents/guardians or by students who are 18 years of age or older, or students who are 16 or 17 years of age but have withdrawn from parental control. In accordance with Policy/Program Memorandum No. 164, this form is applicable to students enrolled in TDSB virtual or secondary schools; this form is not for use by elementary students not enrolled in a TDSB Virtual School. A separate application must be submitted for each student requesting an exemption.

 


To support meaningful access to education, alternative learning approaches will be put in place for all exempted students – for example, correspondence, print, or broadcast media instruction that is based on the individual student's needs and circumstances. Exempted students will be provided with a daily schedule or timetable in accordance with the 300-minute instructional day.

Expectations for Exempted Students 

  • Daily Schedule: Exempted students must follow the daily schedule or timetable provided in accordance with the 300-minute instructional day. This would require students to independently access and complete work provided by the classroom teacher within Brightspace.
  • Daily Attendance: Student attendance will be taken twice a day at the elementary level and per course at the secondary level, in accordance with TDSB  elementary and secondary attendance procedures for all exempted students.
  • Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting: The policy outlined in Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools (2010) continues to apply to all TDSB students who have been approved for an exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning. Teachers will continue to employ assessment for, as, and of learning (including diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment) as required. Teachers will continue to provide differentiated support to all students, including English and French as a Second Language Learners and students with special education needs who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Students will complete and submit within Brightspace the assignments and assessments required for successful completion of the program of study or courses in which they are enrolled.

Requests for Synchronous (Live, Interactive) Learning Exemptions
While synchronous (live, interactive) learning exemptions offer some flexibility to individual students, they also require an increase in the number of asynchronous (independent) minutes in which each exempted student engages daily. This may involve watching pre-recorded video lessons, completing assigned tasks, or contributing to online discussion boards. In some cases, access to asynchronous (independent) learning opportunities may be delivered through emails, non-digital materials, broadcast media, or telephone calls.

Ensuring that the student maintains contact with the classroom teacher and completion and submission of instructional and assessment tasks as assigned are essential components of a synchronous (live, interaction) exemption. Attendance for students of compulsory school age is required under the Education Act.In order to maximize opportunities for student success, student absences will be addressed in accordance with the Education Act, and related Ministry of Education policies as outlined by the TDSB in Policy 085 – Student Attendance and Safe Arrival and the Ministry of Education Enrolment Register Instructions for Elementary and Secondary Schools document. Therefore, absences of 15 consecutive school days without supporting documentation could result in a student being retired from the attendance register.

Failure to meet the mandatory attendance, work completion and assessment expectations is inconsistent with an exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning and align instead with an intent for homeschooling as outlined in the TDSB Home Schooling Policy. Parents/guardians wishing to home school a child must submit a Notice of Intent to Home School (Form 553A) to the Family of Schools Superintendent for their home school.

Non-digital Copies for Fully Exempted Students
All students that have been granted a partial or full exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning will continue to be provided equity of access within Brightspace to the instructional and assessment materials for the grade/courses in which they are enrolled.  This is an important prerequisite in supporting students to fulfill the requirements of their program of study.  Due to extenuating circumstances or requirements expressed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP), a student that has been granted a full exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning may require an accommodation of non-digital copies of learning materials. Given the close interconnectedness between classroom instruction, building relationships with students, and engaging families; providing non-digital copies will be the responsibility of the school in which the student is currently enrolled.   At the elementary Virtual School level, this will be a collaborative effort between the homeroom teacher and the support teacher (if applicable).  At the secondary level, this will be a collaborative effort between the teacher(s) of the course(s) in which the student has been granted a full exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning and the support teacher(s) (if applicable).  These collaborative efforts will ensure an effective link between instruction, assessment, reporting and pedagogy and provide TDSB students of all social identities with enhanced opportunities to demonstrate the full extent of their learning.  Fully exempted students who require an accommodation of non-digital copies should make this request known to the principal of their current school.  Although the content of these non-digital materials will be made accessible to all students who have been granted an exemption, actual non-digital copies will be provided only to students who due to confirmed valid reasons, require this level of support.  For the purposes of a full exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning, providing non-digital copies does not apply to non-Virtual School elementary students nor to students who opted for homeschooling. All students that have been granted an exemption from the minimum requirements of synchronous (live, interactive) learning will be responsible for maintaining contact with their teachers as well as making arrangements with their teachers to complete and return tasks and assessments as assigned.     

Application Deadline
Exemption requests must be submitted one week following the start of each reporting period by 4 p.m. on the following dates:

Elementary application deadlines: October 20, November 30, and February 23.

Secondary application deadlines: October 20, November 30, February 15, and April 30.

Translations of Exemption from Synchronous Learning Webpage

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