Ontario cancels final exams for high school students due to COVID-19 pandemic
Am empty teacher's desk is pictured at the front of a empty classroom at Mcgee Secondary school in Vancouver on Sept. 5, 2014. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
OTTAWA -- High school students in Ottawa and across Ontario don’t have to worry about studying for final exams this year.
Trustees with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board have been told that final exams have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Nadia Towaij told Trustees Tuesday evening that a memo from Education Minister Stephen Lecce and the Ministry of Education issued on Tuesday informed boards that there will be no final exams for high school students.
The Ontario Government announced on Sunday that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least the end of May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last day of in-person classes was Friday, March 13 before students left school for the March Break.
Students also don't have to worry about their grades falling due to the Learn at Home program. Towaij says high school students will have a baseline mark based on school work completed by March 13, and they can only improve their grades by completing assignments and tasks during the rest of the school year.
“We know there are no final examinations. We do know their marks can only go up. We do know we are committed to supporting and differentiating to ensure our learning focus will work for them and their family realities,” said Towaij during the video board meeting.
Grade 12 students in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board will know their baseline grades on May 1.
More information will be provided to students within the next week.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board posted a letter from Minister Lecce to parents on its website, which outlined the plans to cancel exams.
“To maximize the instructional time of your child, we are converting remaining Professional Activity and examination days into instructional time,” writes Lecce.
“This would ensure that your children remain engaged and learning for the greatest number of days possible during the school year. Perhaps now more than ever, every bit of instructional time matters even if it means just one or two days.”