Toronto District School Board
Skip to main content

Switching Between In-Person Learning and Virtual Learning

Families may decide to switch between in-person and virtual learning at key dates throughout the year. The key entry dates have been determined based on formal reporting and assessment periods throughout the school year, and quadmester/semester changes.

It is important to note that, for health and safety reasons, and because of the impact switching would have on staffing, physical distancing and space allocation, transitions between in-person and virtual learning can only take place at these key dates.


Elementary students may request to switch between In-Person Learning and the Virtual School at the following key dates. Please see the most recent information in the parent/guardian update below:

If you have opted out of board-provided student transportation, you can opt back in, if previously eligible, by contacting your school.

Opportunity to Change

Date the Change of Class
would Take Effect

Deadline for Requesting Change

#1: Approximately One Month into School Year

October 13, 2020 (day after Thanksgiving)

September 30, 2020 at 4 p.m.

#2: Following Distribution of First Provincial Report Card (Proposed)

February 16, 2021 (day after Family Day Holiday)

January 29, 2021

Requests to Switch Into Elementary Virtual School
Requests to switch a student into the Elementary Virtual School will be reviewed based on space availability and compassionate grounds.

Criteria for compassionate grounds will warrant a student being approved for transfer to Virtual School, provided there are spaces available:

  • There is a verifiable current medical condition or disability requiring human rights accommodation.
  • There is a need for accommodation based on another protected human rights ground.
  • Students who are not attending school and/or missed the transfer deadline due to participating in a human rights accommodation process (for example, they now want to switch to virtual school because their mask accommodation request was denied).
  • Students who have a sibling already in Elementary Virtual School.

Criteria That Does Not Warrant an Immediate Transfer to Virtual School and students must wait until the next transfer opportunity:

  • Students who are brand new TDSB registrants (unless the student meets one of the criteria for approval).
  • Students who are able to but do not wish to wear a mask/face covering to attend school in-person (unless there is verified medical information/documentation provided to indicate that the student cannot attend in-person or they missed registering for Virtual School due to participation in a request for accommodation process).
  • Students whose families have changed their minds after originally attending Virtual School, then switching to in-person school at the October transfer opportunity, and now would like to return to Virtual School.
  • Students who are required to self-isolate at home for a period of time (they should access asynchronous activities from their homeroom teacher during isolation if well enough).
  • Students whose families are requesting either a change in teacher, or a change from one Virtual School teacher to another.

Switch Requests for the Next Transition Opportunity
A formal process to request a switch to virtual learning at the next transition opportunity will be communicated when available.

Requests to Switch from Virtual School to Bricks and Mortar

Families who wish for their child(ren) to return to in-person school can make requests through the Superintendent of Education for their child(ren’s) school. Requests will be granted once the Superintendent has confirmed that space is available. Once a student transfers back, decisions to return to in-person learning are final. Further requests to switch back to Virtual School will be addressed at the time of the next transition opportunity.


With more than 18,000 secondary students currently enrolled in the TDSB’s Virtual Secondary School, we cannot accommodate any additional students without a significant reorganization of the system -- something that would have a negative impact on our in-person schools and result in many courses having to be collapsed or eliminated.

Our goal is to maintain stability for both in-person schools and the Virtual School, and to continue offering the courses that students need. As a result, we will be changing how virtual learning is delivered to students who request to switch to virtual learning for  Quadmester 2.

While the Virtual School will continue to operate and support its existing students, students who would like to switch from in-person to virtual learning for Quadmester 2 will be accommodated with a virtual option at their current in-person school.

Deadline to Request a Change Date the Change Would Take Effect
Before October 28, 2020 @ 4 p.m.

Quad 2 start - November 23, 2020

Before January 5, 2021 @ 4 p.m.

Quad 3 start - February 8, 2021

Before March 23, 2021 @ 4 p.m.

Quad 4 start - April 23, 2021

What is the process for students currently enrolled to attend in-person who would like to switch to a virtual (learn at home) model?
Students who are registered at in-person schools who would like to switch to the virtual model at  their school will be provided with more information from their school, including a form to indicate what they would like to do.

What will school-based virtual learning look like at my school?

The school-based virtual learning model at your school will vary from class to class, and will depend on factors such as the number of students wishing to learn virtually and the available courses. In some cases, there will be enough students to offer an entire class virtually. In other cases, the class will be split into virtual and in-person cohorts.

Can students currently in the Virtual School switch back to their home school for virtual (learn at home) or in-person learning?
Students who are currently registered in the Virtual School and would like to return to their in-person school must contact the guidance counsellor at their in-person school by October 28, 2020 to see if a timetable can be created for the specific courses they have requested for Quadmesters 2, 3 and 4. If a timetable can be created, a transfer to the in-person school will be facilitated. Please note that space may be limited and a transfer may not be possible.

I have already made a request to switch back to my in-person school for Quadmester 2. Do I need to make this request again?
If you have already made a request to switch back to your in-person school for Quadmester 2, please contact your school again to confirm this request.

When do these changes take effect?
These change take effect at the start of Quadmester 2 on November 23, 2020.

Will anything change for students already enrolled in the TDSB Secondary Virtual School in Quadmester 2?
No. The Virtual School will continue support its existing students.


© 2014 Toronto District School Board  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy   |  CASL