Frequently Asked Questions
We know that our families will have many questions. Please view the below FAQs. For more information, contact the main office at your child’s school.
1. If my child was enrolled in in-person learning prior to the winter break but I no longer feel comfortable with them returning to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 17, what are my options?
2. Will learning continue for students isolating as a result of COVID-19?
We know that some families and students will choose not to return to in-person learning for a period of time for a variety of reasons. During this transitional time, it is incredibly important for students to remain connected to their school, classroom and teacher. As always, students continue to have access to class materials through Google Classroom (elementary) and Brightspace (secondary).
HDSB families who wish not to return to in-person learning have the following options:
Short-term remote learning: This will be teacher-supported independent (asynchronous) learning where return to in person would occur prior to Feb. 28, 2022.
Elementary (Kindergarten - Grade 8): At this time, real-time (synchronous) learning will not be available for elementary students choosing not to return in-person learning in the short-term. Students will remain part of their current class.
Secondary (Grade 9-12): For secondary students, real-time (synchronous) learning will not be available for those choosing not to return in-person learning in the short-term. Students remain part of their current classes and access learning materials independently (asynchronously).
Long-term remote learning until end of June 2022: This will be teacher-led remote learning until the end of the school year.
Elementary (Kindergarten - Grade 8): Requests to move to a remote class for the remainder of the year can be submitted through your school principal. This option would be a commitment to the end of the year.
Secondary (Grade 9-12): Requests to move to a remote learning at the Virtual School - Secondary for semester 2 for the remainder of the year can be submitted through your school principal. This option would be a commitment until the end of the year, where timetable requests can be accommodated.
Please contact your school principal if you wish to choose one of these options.
3. Will classes be combined as a result of staff and student absenteeism due to isolation requirements?
As always, independent (asynchronous) remote learning will be provided to students who are isolating with access to Google Classroom (elementary) and Brightspace (secondary).
4. What has been done to improve school ventilation?
The HDSB will continue to closely monitor staff absenteeism and have proactive approaches in place. In Halton, we have not experienced the same issues with unfilled staff absences as other school boards have. Supply staff and non-classroom staff are available within schools if needed and other strategies (e.g. non-school based staff) can be considered if required. Combining classes would be considered as a last resort. Where classes are combined, schools would continue to follow guidance from Public Health (e.g., a minimum of 2m between cohorts, look to combine larger class sizes in larger spaces such as a library) .
5. How will families or staff know if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the class/school?
The HDSB has been upgrading school heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as part of our regular renewal plan over several years and taken on targeted enhancements through COVID-19 Resilient Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) funding. Information and FAQs about ventilation and HVAC upgrades in HDSB schools can be viewed on our
Ventilation webpage. The HDSB has deployed HEPA air purifiers in priority order to support schools with limited mechanical ventilation, to support program needs where students may be unmasked, and then further to support student and staff use of larger spaces such as gyms and libraries. As announced by the Ministry of Education on Dec. 31, 2021, additional HEPA air purifiers will be distributed in schools to supplement ventilation and air quality in schools.
6. Will N95 masks be available to school staff when schools open for in-person learning?
As a result of the new Omicron variant and how quickly it is spreading, the Ontario Ministry of Health has revised case and contact management processes. We continue to follow the direction of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education regarding case and contact management including:
- Confirmation of COVID-19 no longer requires a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test. Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 are presumed to have COVID-19.
- Families will no longer receive communication from Halton Region Public Health or the HDSB regarding COVID-19 cases in schools.
- In the event of a case of COVID-19, class dismissals may no longer be required.
- Parents/students are not required to report a positive Rapid Antigen or PCR Test to the school.
- If school absenteeism rises to approximately 30%, principals will notify Halton Region Public Health.
7. Will Semester 2 continue as a traditional semester model for secondary students?
Non-fit tested N95 masks are available for staff as an option to medical/surgical masks. Staff will have the option to wear either medical/surgical masks or non-fit tested N95 masks provided by the government and continue to have other PPE available (e.g., eye protection, gowns, etc.). The Ministry of Health and Halton Region Public Health are confident in the protection provided by the existing supply of masks. Also, three-ply masks are available for students who wish to wear them.
8. What are the isolation requirements for my child following international travel?
Yes. Secondary schools will continue to follow the four courses per day format.
If a child/student is not fully vaccinated but is exempt from federal quarantine because they travelled with a fully vaccinated companion, they must not go to school/child care for 14 days.