Letter from Director of Education Sean Monteith Regarding 2021-2022 Virtual School Registration

March 11, 2021

Letter to Parent of Virtual School Students (pdf)

RE: Virtual School Enrolment for the 2021-2022 School Year

Dear Parent/Guardian and families of Virtual School student(s):

I hope this letter finds you well, and that you and your family continue to take care of each other as we deal with the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is truly hard to believe it was one year ago today when we learned our schools would be closed, and how we taught, learned, and interacted with one another in education would be altered in ways we had never imagined.

As we look ahead to September 2021 and the start of the next school year, we know many Canadians will be vaccinated, and that COVID-19 health and safety practices are still expected to be active. With this in mind, we are planning for the majority of students to return to in-person learning with enhanced safety precautions in place. We will continue to offer a virtual school as part of our pandemic response.

The establishment of the HPEDSB Virtual School was not part of a longer-term plan or vision, but rather a direct outcome and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person learning is the best way to meet students’ academic, social-emotional, and physical well-being needs. Acknowledging that there remains much uncertainty for the fall, HPEDSB will offer a Kindergarten to Grade 10 Virtual School option, should families decide it fits their child/ren’s style of learning and meets the needs of their family. Programming for Grade 11 and 12 students will be provided through their home secondary school.

This past year, families have had to navigate so much uncertainty. We want to foster predictability for all to reduce the amount of change for students and staff in the upcoming school year. Good planning provides room for modifications and reduces the chance of school reorganizations (e.g., changing classrooms, grade configurations, teaching assignments, or timetables). The more accurate our student enrolment information is now, the better our planning will be, reducing the likelihood of school reorganizations and promoting predictability for student learning in the fall.

Registering in the Virtual School for 2021-2022 is a full-year commitment with mandatory attendance expectations. There will be no transition dates provided throughout the year. We remain committed to providing high-quality programming through dedicated educators in all our schools, in-person and virtual, no matter which format you choose.

Overview of In-Person and Virtual Learning

In-Person Learning  Virtual Learning
  • All elementary programs will be offered
  • Full-range secondary programs will be offered
  • Specialized Program Classes will be offered
  • Students receive 300 minutes of instruction per day
  • COVID-19 safety procedures in place – distancing, masks, hand washing, protective equipment for staff
  • Cohorting of students and emphasis on smaller class sizes, where possible
  • Incremental resumption of regular operations, as possible, based on health guidance
  • Students enrolled in specialized program classes who opt for virtual learning will be enrolled in regular virtual classrooms
  • School day parental supervision required
  • Students receive 180-225 minutes of online (synchronous) instruction per day, with the remaining 75-120 minutes off-line (asynchronous)
  • Consistent course packages offered to students in Grades 9 & 10

To ensure accurate enrolment projections, all students currently enrolled in the Virtual School will be automatically returned to their home schools at the end of June. If you intend to have your child/ren continue with virtual learning in September 2021, you are asked to contact your home school Principal within the next two weeks. This contact will be considered your formal intent to register in the Virtual School for the 2021-2022 school year.

The conversation with your home school principal about your desire to register your child/ren in Virtual School must occur before the end of the school day on March 26, 2021. If you do not reach out to your child/ren’s home school by March 26, your child will be attending in-person learning in the fall.

In closing, our schools remain open and safe with enhanced health and safety protocols to protect staff and students from COVID-19. This commitment will not change.

I wish all of you the very best, and encourage all families, parents/guardians and students to remain safe, and equally importantly, remain hopeful.



Sean Monteith

Director of Education




Last updated: March 11, 2021 at 10:16 pm
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