Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Ontario School Closure
Last updated: March 31, 2020
We’ve compiled frequently asked questions to help address concerns from families and staff. We will continue to update this resource as we receive further information. Thank you for your patience and understanding as this is an evolving situation with many implications.
Please note this is a working resource for parents/guardians, staff, community members. Check back often for the most up-to-date information.
If you have a question that is not on the list, please email
Q: Where can I get information on COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Resources:
Halton Region Public Health can be contacted at 311 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866.
Q: Will the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) scheduled for March 31 take place? (updated March 18)
A: No, the Ministry of Education has announced that EQAO assessments, including the OSSLT, scheduled to take place this school year will be cancelled. For students who are graduating this year, the literacy graduation requirement will be waived. Students who are not graduating this year will have the opportunity to write the OSSLT in the 2020-21 school year.
Q. Will the school year be extended into the summer?
A: We have not received any direction from the Ministry of Education on the extension of the school year. The decision to extend the school year would be made by the Ministry.
Q: Will students be provided with online learning resources during the Ontario school closure? (updated March 27, 2020)
A: Yes, please see the resources below:
Ontario Ministry of Education: Learn at Home
The Ministry of Education has introduced its 'Learn at Home' online portal. It can be accessed at www.ontario.ca/learnathome and provides resources so both elementary and secondary students can continue to engage in their learning independently during the initial two weeks of the closure.
HDSB learning resources
We have posted additional learning resources for Kindergarten - Grade 8 students. In addition, teachers will be reaching out to students and providing immediate learning suggestions for students to help guide their independent learning over the next two weeks.
Teachers will not be assessing and evaluating the independent learning that students will be engaged in during the next two weeks. Over the next two weeks, staff are preparing materials to support a distance or online learning approach that would come into effect for the period beyond April 5.
Should you choose to use third-party online resources, you are encouraged to review the privacy and security settings outlined in the user agreement to ensure you are comfortable with them.
Q: Will students be at risk of not graduating? (updated March 25, 2020)
A: We encourage you to read the letter to Ontario parents written yesterday from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce here. In this letter, Minister Lecce says: "We want to make this clear: no graduating student will have their ability to graduate impacted by the two-week closure and the COVID19 developments."
Q: Can students graduate if they have not completed their community service/volunteer hours? (Updated March 31, 2020)
A: The 40 hours of community service requirement has been waived for students graduating in the 2019-2020 school year. Students are encouraged to still complete these hours if possible, with activities that adhere to public health guidelines.
Q: Will students still receive midterm report cards? (Updated March 27, 2020)
A: The Ministry of Education will release province-wide messaging on reporting and we will share this with families once known.
Q: Will the secondary Term 1/2 date be changed and will this impact Civics and Careers?
A: No, once school resumes, Principals and the Program Department will work with teachers to determine assessment and evaluation needs in order to meet this date.
Q: Will university and college applications be impacted or adjusted as a result of school closures?
Q: Will co-op placements continue during this time?
A: The Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) and Ontario universities are closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on students' applications. Please refer to the following websites for more information about university and college applications:
A: No, co-op placements are not continuing during the closure.
Q: Is there going to be a letter sent out to co-op students? I can’t fulfill all of the requirements because of the self-quarantine. (Updated March 27, 2020)
A: Currently students are not at their placements. Co-op will be included as part of the HDSB’s Continuity of Learning Plan. Some students have the ability to do their placement virtually, others will work with their school co-op teacher on the other curriculum strands of the course. Information will follow directly from co-op teachers to students.
Q: Will the closure impact my ability to apply for a SHSM for 2020-2021. (Updated March 27, 2020)
A: The course selection deadline has passed but our SHSM programs still have spots. Students can connect with a Guidance counsellor upon return to school.
Q: Will the requirements for SHSM be impacted and will I still be able to graduate with a SHSM certificate? (Updated March 27, 2020)Q: Will dual credit courses (with community colleges, post-secondary institutions, etc.) continue during this time?
A: The Board is awaiting direction regarding SHSMs from the Ministry of Education.
A: No, students in our Dual Credit programs will not attend their college classes. Our students do not attend HDSB programs in non-Board sites when our own sites are closed. Q: Will the International Baccalaureate (IB) program be impacted? (Updated March 23, 2020)
A: The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May for Diploma Programme and Career-Related Programme candidates will no longer be held. Read more in the message for International Baccalaureate Students & Families
, or visit www.ibo.org/news/news-about-the-ib/covid-19-coronavirus-updates
Q: Will secondary school exams be impacted? (Updated March 27, 2020)
A: At this point, no decisions have been made with respect to secondary school exams. Information specific to secondary International Baccalaureate (IB) exams can be found HERE. This letter has been shared with families of students in schools with IB programs. Information specific to secondary Advanced Placement (AP) exams can be found HERE.
Direction will be coming from the Ministry of Education specific to assessment and evaluation and we will share it with families once known.
Q: Will DELF, the French examinations specific to the CommonCommon European Framework, occur this year?
A: No. The DELF consists of annual exams written by students in a large group setting. The HDSB has cancelled/postponed any planned large group gatherings for the remainder of the school year.
Q: Will decisions around Elementary Optional Attendance (Grades 1-8) still be made by the end of March? (Added March 23, 2020)
A: Decisions regarding Optional Attendance for September 2020 will be delayed. Further information will be provided once schools re-open. Decisions regarding Optional Attendance for Kindergarten will continue to be made the third week of September.
Q: How do families register students for school while schools are closed? (Updated March 31, 2020)
A: Please visit our Student Registration page for instructions on how to register students for school during the Ontario school closure.
Q: How should I talk with my child about COVID-19/Coronavirus ?
A: The following information is provided to assist parents/guardians with these conversations:
Concerns about coronavirus are impacting children and families alike. Parents and caring adults in a child’s home are in the best position to talk with children about coronavirus. In many instances, not talking about something can make children worry more. Rather than overwhelming children with too much information, start by asking your child to tell you what they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel. Answer their questions in a calm and reassuring manner using information provided by credible sources. Children will also be reassured by hearing the safety precautions you are taking, including the importance of frequent handwashing using an effective routine. There are many videos of hand washing routines that families can watch and practice together.
For additional information about supporting your child, refer to:
Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
How to talk to children about the coronavirus - Harvard Health Blog
Q: Will school breakfast/food programs continue to run?
A: Breakfast and snack programs will not be available in schools during the closure period.
We’ve compiled the following resources to support families during this time:
We will continue to add to this list as we learn of more resources.
Q: Will schools be cleaned during this three-week break ?
Yes, our full complement of custodial staff will be in the schools during the week of March 16-20 to do deep cleaning of the schools and board facilities. These sites will subsequently be shuttered and only accessed by a limited number of individuals who will be performing essential services during the closure period.
Q: Will bus companies be cleaning their buses during the closure?
A: Yes, all buses will be cleaned and sanitized during the school closure period.
Q: Will the Board continue with Student Excellence photos scheduled for after the three-week closure? (Updated March 25, 2020)
A: In an effort to reduce large group gatherings, the HDSB must regretfully cancel the Student Excellence celebration that was planned for May 14, 2020. As a result we have also postponed the photo sessions planned this spring. We will be in touch with families once we have more information and a new date to share.
Q: How can I stay up to date with information from HDSB?
A: While schools are closed we encourage families to continue to check for updates from us through SchoolMessenger, the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca) and the Board’s social media pages (Twitter,
Q: Will Childcare programs, EarlyON Centres and March Break camps be operating?
A: As HDSB schools will be closed for the duration of the Ontario school closure (March 14 - April 5), all child care centres, March Break camps and EarlyOn programs operating in schools will not be open.
Q: Can parents/guardians receive child care support through the process initiated for the labour disruptions and provided by the Ministry of Education?
A: The Ministry of Education has confirmed the Support for Parents website created during labour action, to provide compensation to families for child care costs incurred due to school closures, will not be available during the closure for COVID-19.
Q: Will community use of schools/rentals be cancelled? (Updated March 25, 2020)
A: Yes, we have cancelled all community group bookings/permits until the end of June.
Should school resume in the coming weeks, there will remain a need for social/physical distancing and avoiding large group gatherings. Therefore the HDSB is cancelling/postponing all large group gatherings for the remainder of the school year. As a result, all community use rentals in HDSB schools are also cancelled until the end of June.
Q: How can families arrange for refunds of pre-paid activities/events? (Updated March 27, 2020)
A: During the week of March 30, parent/guardians will receive a message from their child’s school about refunds for school activities, field trips or events. Please follow the instructions in that email. Instructions will be provided for payments made through School Cash Online or directly to the school by cash/cheque.
Q: Will student trips scheduled during the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year be cancelled? (Updated March 24, 2020)
A. All international and domestic student excursions have been cancelled until the end of June because of the health risk to students and staff due to COVID-19. Any affected families will be contacted directly by their school and provided with more information with respect to the process for refunds.
Q. What will happen with other school events when school reopen ? (Updated March 24, 2020)
A. Should school resume in the coming weeks, there will remain a need for social/physical distancing and avoiding large group gatherings. Therefore the HDSB is cancelling/postponing any planned large group gatherings for the remainder of the school year. This includes field trips, in-school presentations, elementary and secondary interschool and intramural athletics, proms, high school commencements, Grade 8 graduations, and our Student Excellence event on May 14. Schools will be sharing more information with their families in the coming days.
Q: Will Board offices/administrative centres be open? (updated March 31)
No, Board offices (J.W. Singleton Education Centre and the New Street Education Centre) will continue to be closed as announced by the Government of Ontario on March 31. At this time, Board offices will re-open on Friday, May 1. Schools will re-open to students on Monday, May 4.
Q: Will the Welcome Centre be open during this time?
A: No, the Welcome Centre will re-open when schools re-open.
Q. Will Board of Trustee meetings that take place in the evenings continue to be held? (updated March 25, 2020)
A: HDSB Trustees will hold their regularly scheduled Board meeting on Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. The public can listen in on this virtual meeting by following instructions on our website: https://bit.ly/LiveStreamAudioonly. 𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗘: 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆.
Q. Will vendors be able to deliver goods to schools and Board offices during the closure?
A: The HDSB will not accept deliveries at school locations and Board offices between March 16 up to and including April 3, 2020.
Invoices and payment - Please be advised that invoices should be forwarded electronically to
email@example.com. The HDSB will process payment of invoices when possible, but please expect delays in receiving payment.
The HDSB will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to vendors regarding deliveries of goods should any additional closures be announced or should the current closures be extended.
Q. Will there be mail courier deliveries to schools during the school closure?
A: Mail delivery will be suspended during the closure.
Q: Will the HDSB be sharing medical equipment supplies in schools with healthcare providers? (updated March 25, 2020)
A: The HDSB will be sharing our supplies of medical equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) with provincial healthcare providers as requested. This is being coordinated by the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Resources to ensure these supplies are directed to where they are needed most.