Completing 40 hours of community involvement activities is a requirement to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD): The flexibility has been introduced in meeting the community involvement hour requirements, along with reducing the total number of hours required for students graduating in the 2020-21 school year. These temporary changes are made to the community involvement graduation policy to reduce barriers students may face and make it easier for students to earn community involvement hours given the challenges related to COVID-19.
Students should continue to seek out and accumulate community involvement hours keeping in mind local public health unit recommendations.
The temporary changes include:
1 reducing the number of hours required for students graduating in the 2020-21 school year to a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement activities
2 Students may count up to a maximum of 10 hours from paid employment towards their earned hours. Students counting paid employment towards their graduation requirement will be required to complete a reflection exercise indicating how their work contributed to the service for others.
The following list provides some examples of flexible ways’ students could earn community involvement hours in keeping with the purpose of the policy, which is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities, including:
- Providing tutoring and mentorship supports through:
- Virtual tutoring to help students with reading, communication and/or other skills
- Teaching online music or dance lessons
- Hosting art classes for younger students
- Assisting siblings and/or younger students with online learning and schoolwork
- Connecting with and supporting seniors by:
- Conversing with seniors virtually, for example, acting as technology mentors or providing a regular check-in to address isolation and build cross-generational friendships
- Joining or creating a letter-writing campaign to seniors
- Delivering groceries to elderly/immunocompromised neighbours
- Supports for families, neighbourhoods and community initiatives:
- Supporting a family by walking a younger child to and from school
- Participating in donation pick-ups for not-for-profit organizations
- Coordinating a donation event with a local organization such as a shelter
- Facilitating discussions with newcomer youth or families to help them learn about their new community
- Sewing masks to donate to social agencies
- Shoveling snow and/or performing yard work for a family or neighbour’s family due to extenuating circumstances
- Taking part in neighbourhood litter-pick-up hour
- Utilizing social media to connect with their community by:
- Organizing a virtual reading or math activity for their feeder elementary schools
- Creating a transition support video for Grade 8 students
- Doing a musical performance that could provide entertainment for seniors
- Encouraging people to donate through various social media platforms to food banks or other not-for-profit organizations
- Creating a flyer for promotion on social media for a local cause
This is not an exhaustive list; the students can use any other way to accumulate volunteer hours with the approval of the principal.