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Section 5: Teaching and Learning

Section 5: Teaching and Learning

5.1 Mental health and well-being

A focus on the whole student will be the priority for the return to school. Staff will work diligently to create warm, welcoming and supportive classrooms for their students and will assist students in becoming familiar with the new routines and practices that will be in place for health and safety purposes. A primary focus upon returning to the school environment, secondary to health and safety, will be on mental health and well-being. Resources and professional learning will be provided to schools with an expectation that daily activities will occur in each school that will focus on mental health and well-being. Targeted interventions will be available throughout the school year, as they have been in the past, to students who are identified by schools as requiring further support.   

5.2 Transition to a new grade

Class composition is never homogeneous, and students bring different levels of prior knowledge with them. Educators will spend time determining areas of academic need for each student, and they will differentiate the instruction to support each student.  Educators will focus on the big ideas of the curriculum, identify learning gaps, and use high yield strategies to support student learning and readiness for new content and skill development. 

5.3 Remote learning for the 2020-2021 School Year

By its very nature, remote learning is not the same learning experience as what students experience when attending in-person at their local school.

The options for remote learning are:

Remote Learning Option

Key Factors

How learning takes place

Remote Synchronous
(Digital learning, in real-time, from home)

  • Access to a teacher in your regular school for synchronous learning.

  • Ability to connect with their in-person classmates

Instruction is provided through the local school and the child’s classroom teacher, through real-time video and audio streaming, using MS Teams or D2L-Brightspace.

Remote Asynchronous: Digital
(Digital learning, not in real time, from home)

Students will have access to the Microsoft (MS) Teams platform used by their class. This is where they will access and submit assignments to a teacher.

Completed materials will be submitted online for assessment and evaluation. Parents will continue to provide direct support for their child’s learning at home and there will be opportunities for students to book time with their teacher.

Remote Asynchronous: Non-Digital
(Digital learning, not in real time, from home)

Students will receive printed materials to support their learning. These students will not have access to the MS Teams classroom platform.

Completed materials will be returned to the school for assessment and evaluation. Parents will continue to provide direct support for their child’s learning at home and there will be opportunities for students to book time with their teacher.

Remote synchronous learning and remote asynchronous (digital) learning , both elementary and secondary, requires internet connectivity and access to a personal computer or laptop for the duration of the school day. Students can expect to have five hours of learning opportunities throughout the day. The remote learning program using digital tools will provide online instruction to students using:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Brightspace – D2L
  • UCDSB assigned student email address

Students who do not have a device may be able to borrow one from the UCDSB.  There is a limited supply of devices available therefore it is possible that not all requests for devices will be fulfilled.

Classroom teachers will use video/audio conferencing functions of Microsoft Teams to facilitate remote synchronous learning. Only those invited to the class Team will have access to the video/audio conferencing taking place. Remote learners may use the camera function or may participate using audio only. It is recommended that microphones within MS Teams are muted when the remote learner is not speaking.

Asynchronous Learning (non-digital) will be provided to students who request an Exemption from Synchronous Learning and will involve the use of pen/paper learning resources.

Secondary online programming will be aligned with the quadmester model being implemented in the face-to-face program at all UCDSB secondary schools. In this model, students will study and complete two courses in the first nine week of the school year. Students then take two additional courses in the next nine weeks. As such, students will complete four full courses by the end of January 2021.  A copy of our quadmester schedule for secondary students is available here.

5.4 Assessment and Evaluation

The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. Assessment and evaluation practices should include assessments to identify students’ strengths and any gaps in learning to ensure that students have the fundamental building blocks in advance of new content. Assessment practices will allow both flexibility and multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding and application of curriculum expectations.

At the secondary level, in addition to completing learning activities and assignments to demonstrate understanding of the curriculum, secondary school students will be expected to complete large projects (known as summative tasks) and final examinations in some courses.

5.6 Provincial EQAO Assessments

Grade 3 and 6 provincial EQAO assessments will not occur this school year. Information regarding the Grade 9 EQAO assessment and the Grade 10 Literacy Test is not currently available.

5.7 Music

Most overall learning expectations for the music curriculum can be met without the use of instruments in both the elementary and secondary program. A variety of delivery options may be considered to meet the music curriculum’s overall expectations, which could include lower-risk creative performance opportunities (e.g. in-school instruction in larger spaces, restricting the type of instruments in a group setting) or in-person teaching and instruction with no live performance. 

Choir practices/performances and band practices/performances involving wind instruments may pose a higher risk of transmission. As such, it is recommended that these be cancelled at this time. This recommendation will be reviewed as more information is made available.

5.8 Physical Education, Science, The Arts, and Technology-Based Courses

These courses may continue, and educators will ensure that health and safety requirements are in place to maintain physical distancing and to limit the shared use of equipment. Where equipment is needed for different classes, the equipment must be sanitized before use and frequent handwashing will be practiced.  

Compulsory courses will be available to students who have chosen remote learning. Remote learning students will have a range of online elective classes to choose from however physical education and technology-based elective courses may not be offered in the remote learning setting.

5.9 Sports (Intramurals and Interscholastic Athletics)

Inter-school sports will not be occurring at this time. Schools may, however, offer co-curricular (such as some intramural sports activities), if cohorting requirements can be maintained and physical distancing is possible. Areas that are used must be able to be cleaned between cohorts.


Continue to Section 6: Secondary School Program Consideration: Student Success Focus

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