HDCH Front Entrance

HD School Format, September 2020

This article was originally published on August 7, 2020. Please visit our COVID Protocols page for the most up to date information.

A message to families, students and supporters:

Following recent announcements by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and with information from Hamilton Public Health, we can now share that HDCH will return to daily in-person learning on campus, while also safeguarding the health and safety of both our school community and the wider community.

Barring any major shifts from Hamilton Public Health or the government, HDCH will proceed with school in a full-time, on-campus “quarter” model.  Instead of doing four courses a day for the whole semester, students will do two courses for the first half of the semester, and two courses for the second half.

This plan offers a balance between health and safety, and the best of an HDCH education. 

Why will students be at school full time?

Having all students in the building each day means that HDCH staff can deliver the best care for students: to meet their learning objectives, to build school community, to reinforce safety protocols, and to increase wellness through continuity.

Why the Quarter model?

The quarter model best adheres to the directives in the Ontario Government’s “Guide to reopening Ontario’s schools” document: it means that students will (as much as possible) spend time with only one group of peers (cohort) each day.  This minimises direct and indirect contacts, and offers the advantage of easy contact tracing in the case of an outbreak. 

What will the Quarter model look like?

  • The semester is divided in half (Sept-Nov, and Nov to Jan) 
  • Students attend school for two courses per quarter 
  • Students are grouped into Course 1 (Cohort A) from 9:00-11:30am, and then again for Course 2 (Cohort B) from 12:30-3:00pm.  


  • Once begun, this model will continue for the whole semester 
  • The school calendar will include turnaround days between quarters
  • As far as possible, students will remain with their cohort for the whole day, including lunch 

What about all the details?

Our goal today is to get this information to you so that you have the learning framework for September. There are many details to work out, and we will release a comprehensive document in a few weeks to address specific details including cleaning and hygiene protocols, movement of people through the building, wardrobe resale, extracurricular options, etc.

Some of our initial plans include:

  • Increased frequency of cleaning of high touchpoint surfaces, as well as more stringent cleaning protocols each night
  • Staff and students will all be following public health recommendations for hand and respiratory hygiene
  • Masks will be mandatory for all staff and students (exceptions will only be for those with documented medical reasons)
  • Directional traffic flow in hallways
  • No use of lockers so as to limit touchpoints and traffic in hallways
  • Staggered breaks
  • Classroom configurations will maximise physical distancing
  • Outdoor classes and activities when weather permits
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own devices, minimising use of shared school equipment 

What if a student is unable to attend school on campus due to a health concern or other complication?

Students with health concerns may engage in fully remote learning while campus is open. This will be achieved through live-streaming of instructional time with their on-campus peers, and regularly posting assignments, projects and other tasks to be worked on from home. Separate temporary arrangements may also be made during September for international students whose return is delayed.

Where should I direct my questions?

Feel free to connect with any member of the Leadership Team:

Thank you to every HD family for walking alongside us through this time.  We look forward very much to having our students back on campus in four and a half weeks, finding their place and their calling in God’s Kingdom as they learn and grow and serve together in Christ.

The HD Leadership Team