DDSB Transition from Quadmesters to a Semester Schedule

Posted On Thursday November 18, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians, 

Earlier today, the Ministry of Education announced that secondary schools can move back to a semester schedule (with students taking up to 4 courses a day for half the school year) from the current quadmester schedule (with students taking up to 2 courses a day for a quarter of the school year). As a result of this announcement, all DDSB secondary schools will be transitioning to a regular semester schedule at the beginning of Semester 2 in February, which is the mid-year mark of this school year. Please note that bell times will remain the same as they are connected to student transportation. 

We anticipate the shift back to a semester schedule will have a positive impact on engagement for students, along with providing further stability for the remainder of the school year. We have appreciated everyone’s efforts to make the quadmester schedule work during the height of the pandemic. However, it was not designed or intended for long-term use and with the low level of COVID-19 cases at secondary schools and the high vaccination rate among secondary students, the transition back to a semester model marks the achievement of another milestone on the path to creating a more normal secondary experience for students. In consultation with the Durham Region Health Department, we will continue to ensure appropriate health and safety measures are in place.

Secondary schools will begin re-timetabling student schedules, where required, with the goal of maintaining student course selections wherever possible. Schools will provide additional information to families regarding Semester 2 timetables in the new year. 

We also wanted to share with you two other pieces of news from today’s announcement: 

  • Travel Requirements: For those planning to travel internationally over the holiday break, we want to take this opportunity to remind families of restrictions currently in place. As per the Durham Region Health Department  and Government of Canada direction, unvaccinated students returning from travel outside Canada must not attend school or childcare for 14 days after their return. Fully vaccinated students who have travelled outside of Canada and meet the requirements to be exempt from federal quarantine (including passing a pre-entry PCR Covid-19 test, more information from the Government of Canada here), are able to attend school upon their return. Please also review the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories FAQ ahead of any international travel. 
  • Rapid Take Home Tests for the Winter Break: The Ministry will be providing school boards with enough test kits so that each student can take home a pack of five rapid tests to be used over the winter break to support a safe return to school in January. We will be sharing more information including how tests will be distributed when we receive it.  

We ask for your patience as your child’s school works through this process. On behalf of the team at the DDSB, our sincere thanks for all that you have done to support your child’s success during this extenuating time.