Secondary: Before the School Year Begins
Whether your teen will be learning through a blend of in-person and at-home instruction, or only through distance learning, here are some things you’ll want to know before they begin school:
Gradual return to school
To help us prepare for a safe school year and adjust to new school routines, the first day of school will be different than in previous school years. Rather than all students returning on one day, students will gradually return to school by attending orientation sessions during the weeks of Sept. 8 and 14.
A gradual return to school means that fewer people will be in the school building, so students and staff can focus on learning and adopting new routines and safety practices before all students return. This new return-to-school process is grounded in our guiding principles for the safe and equitable reopening of schools.
Secondary students who will attend the adaptive learning model will join a morning orientation session at their school between Sept. 8 and 11, with a full return to school routines on Sept. 14. Schools will contact students and families directly by Sept. 1, 2020 with orientation dates and details.
Pre-register for school
To help us plan for the upcoming school year, all families were sent an Intention to Return to School Form to their child's student Google account. The form is now closed. The deadline to complete this form was Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 at noon. Please contact your school directly if you did not fill out the form or would like to switch learning models.
Our goal is to support every learner equitably, with a focus on safety and well-being. We understand the difficult circumstances in which many of our students, staff and families continue to find themselves, and we will proceed with care and compassion, whether students attend in person or learn from home. School email addresses can be found at the top of each school website.
Understanding the new Adaptive Learning Model
There are four important changes to the secondary school year calendar that you need to know:
Quadmesters: The traditional school year will be divided into four quadmesters, rather than two semesters.
Cohorts: Secondary students will be divided into two cohort groups: Cohort A and B.
Blend of in-person and at-home learning: Students will attend school in person on a rotating schedule, and will be expected to engage in distance learning when not at school during the school day.
Smaller class sizes: Within each classroom, cohorts will be limited to approximately 15 students to reduce the number of interactions with different individuals.
This school year, most secondary schools will follow a quadmester model. Four quadmesters make up a traditional school year. In each quadmester, students will focus on two courses over approximately 10 weeks.
Cohort A and B
To help limit interactions, secondary students will be assigned into Cohort A or B, with each cohort attending class in person on a rotating schedule. Cohorting helps ensure that students stay with the same class group, and there is limited to no mixing between classes and grades.
Students in Cohort A will attend school in person on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday one week, and Monday and Tuesday the following week (see chart below).
For example, students in Cohort A below would have Mathematics on Mondays, and History on Tuesdays, and switch between Math and History on alternating Wednesdays.
Secondary Student In-Person Attendance Schedule
Note: Students who attend a school with a 5-period day (there are just a few in the Peel District School Board) will have a slightly different schedule than what is shown on the previous chart. These schools will share their schedule with families directly.
Information regarding which cohort students are in will be available to families by Sept. 1, 2020. Student timetables with specific course information will be available by
Sept. 13, 2020.
Students scheduled to be at school that day will arrive for 150 minutes of in-person learning, and will then return home to continue learning online. If the student is not scheduled to be at school, they will be expected to engage in distance learning at home during the school day.
Below is a sample school schedule. In most cases, school start times will be the same as last year.
Cohort A is scheduled to attend school in-person
Weekday when Cohort B is scheduled to attend school in-person
Student Transportation of Peel Region (STOPR) will assign students to cohorts for each school in order to plan school bus routes safely and efficiently. Given the complexity of the cohort planning, families will not likely receive bus route information until the week before school starts.
If your teen is eligible for transportation and they will not be using board-provided transportation in 2020-21, please complete this
Student Transportation of Peel Region Opt-out Form
at your earliest convenience. Note, if you opt out, you will be able to opt back in for transportation at a later time using the STOPR Form.
At-home distance learning only
All families will also have the option to enrol their teen in a full distance learning model. These students will be enrolled in our new
PDSB Online School.
For families who are new to the Peel board, all registrations will continue to be completed electronically. To register and for more information, visit
Families who are transferring children between Peel schools or who are registering their child in a Peel school for the first time will be asked to contact the school via email or phone by Sept. 1, 2020, to process registrations in a timely manner.
After the start of the school year, new students will continue to be accepted. However, after Sept. 10, 2020, new registrants will become part of the PDSB Online School until the end of the quadmester.
If your family is new to Ontario, your child may need an assessment/orientation interview before starting school. Please contact our We Welcome the World Centres via email at
Last updated: Sept. 4, 2020