Ever since the pandemic disrupted the school system, many teachers and students were uncertain of the future of education. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), academic learning had been slowed or put on hiatus for children after schools shut down in March to limit spread of COVID-19. Teachers had to scramble in shifting their lessons and work into online learning platforms in order to recreate the atmosphere of in-class learning, all while students themselves had to cope with the new changes from learning at school with their friends to learning at home. However, with social distancing protocols being implemented and safety measures being enforced, schools were able to reopen for the fall.
Despite schools reopening, there have been many changes that the Ontario Ministry of Education has recommended to all Ontario schools to suit the “new normal” caused by the pandemic – one of them most notably being “quadmesters”.
Format of Quadmesters
To ensure that students return to the classroom, whether in-class or online, the government has split the school year into four sections (quadmesters). During each quadmester span of approximately 9 weeks, students are taught two courses while taking a minimum of two credits per quad. With about 44 days in each quad, the schedule* of the quadmesters have been laid out like so:
- Quad 1: Sept. 17 – Nov. 17 + Exams Nov. 18,19
- Quad 2: Nov. 23 – Feb. 2 + Exams Feb. 3, 4
- Quad 3: Feb. 8 – April 20 + Exams April 21, 22
- Quad 4: April 23 – June 23 + Exams June 24, 25, 28
*Schedule may be varied depending on start of classes for certain schools and regions
With more free time in their spare periods during their school days, students are able to use that time with tutoring sessions, study groups, and any other extracurricular activities made to benefit their learning experience.
Before each quadmester begins, students must choose one of the following school learning models: Adapted In-School Day Model and 100% Remote Learning
Model 1: Adapted In-School Day Model
The Adapted In-School Day Model incorporates both in-class and online learning methods for students during the quadmester. For days in which in-class learning is permitted, each course is limited to 15 students per 1 teacher, in which the students have to be physically distant from one another. After their lunch break at home, students return to their classes with the remote learning model, where they attend a live, online session of schooling. On other days during this quadmester model, students have to stay home for remote learning lessons, which is performed in both synchronous and asynchronous ways.
One of the greatest benefits of following this model for the quadmester format is the in-person factor, as students will be able to interact with their friends, fellow classmates and teachers. In addition to spending time outside of the house, students will have the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and engage in discussions that increase their social and emotional skills. As school is considered a safe and supportive environment for learning, students who learn better with in-person interaction will benefit from this quadmester model.
Despite students being able to go back to in-person classrooms, they must abide by the ministry requirement of wearing a mask during school. To limit the spread of the virus, they are also not permitted to use lockers, play any organized sports, or eat at their high schools until it is safe enough to do so. Students and educators have to practice physical distancing, as well as health and safety protocols such as regular hand sanitization and daily self-screening (checking for COVID-19 symptoms).
Model 2: 100% Remote Learning
During this choice of learning in a quadmester, students are permitted to stay at home and continue their education there. They will still have to focus on two courses per day, as they will be maintaining their school attendance and work during synchronous and asynchronous learning as the school day progresses. If students are not present virtually during their classes, they will be marked absent, which is why it is essential to communicate with teachers should wi-fi connection be a problem.
Along with this quadmester model, teachers have to implement a course curriculum that works effectively with online platforms such as Brightspace; an online learning management system often used by educational institutions for online and/or blended learning.However, more students can attend courses in comparison to the 15 student limit in the Adapted In-School Day Model.
One of the most notable benefits of this model is that it is the safest learning option for students due to the schooling being done solely at home. As this is a home-based model, commuting is not necessary for students, lessening their anxiety and allowing them to utilize that time to get extra rest or work done. In studying under the remote learning model, students can learn at their own speed while completing their assignments on their own time. Due to the flexibility and ability of autonomy provided, students who are self-disciplined with a busy schedule would find remote learning an ideal educational model to follow. Only a few things are required to ensure an effective and smooth teaching session: a screen-based device (computer, tablet, etc.), a quiet place and a good Internet connection.
Physical interaction is restricted for students who choose this model, limiting their opportunities to develop their social skills further. Due to this challenge, teachers may find it harder to motivate and engage their students during their lessons. Another challenge is the resources themselves, as computers and Internet connections can come with technical difficulties that stall the learning process.
In any case, school is an integral part of a child’s growth and development. With these learning models implemented and semesters rerouted into quadmesters, giving children a wholesome education can hopefully still continue as society deals with the pandemic’s impact. For more information on quadmesters and the new school system, you can call us at 1 (844) 628-4243!
Return to School – tdsb.on.ca
Quad-mestered System – schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca
WHAT THE TDSB’S BACK TO SCHOOL PLAN MEANS FOR SECONDARY STUDENTS – iheartradio.ca
QUADMESTER EXPLAINED – aia.school
‘Quadmesters’ for teens and no sports: Reopening plans for Toronto public schools revealed – cbc.ca
Reopening Schools Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – ugdsb.ca