Online learning graduation requirement

Students are required to earn two online learning credits to graduate from secondary school, beginning with every student who entered Grade 9 in the 2020-21 school year. The online learning graduation requirement also applies to adult learners that will be entering the Ontario secondary school system starting in the 2023-24 school year. The graduation requirement is intended to support students in developing familiarity and comfort with learning and working in a fully online environment, as well as developing digital literacy and other important transferable skills that they will need for success after secondary school, including in post-secondary education and the workplace.


Definition of online learning for this graduation requirement

  • Online learning credits that count towards the requirement are earned through courses that rely primarily on communication between students and educators through the internet or another digital platform.

  • Online learning credits that count do not generally require students to be physically present with one another or with their educator in the school.     

  • In online learning courses delivered by schools in the publicly funded education system, coursework is teacher-led.

  • Students from the same online class may follow different timetables and be from different schools or school boards.

  • Students in publicly funded schools complete their online coursework with the support of a certified Ontario educator with whom they communicate, and who provides instruction, ongoing feedback, assessment, evaluation and reporting as needed, including implementing any accommodations and/or modifications identified in the student’s Individual Education Plan.

In-person courses that use digital learning tools in a physical classroom do not count towards the online graduation requirement, nor do remote learning courses that rely on a minimum requirement for synchronous learning.

Selection of courses should consider future pathways, the ability and interests of the student to learn in a fully online environment and any potential supports that may be needed. Meeting the online learning graduation requirement should not pose a barrier to graduation for students. As with all learning, students taking online courses will have access to the supports they need through their school, (e.g., guidance, nutrition programs, extra-curricular activities and services for English-language learners). If a student in a publicly-funded school has an Individual Education Plan, the plan should be shared, when appropriate, with an educator instructing an online course delivered by another publicly-funded school board, with the necessary consent.
Credits earned during COVID-19

Students can count one secondary school credit that was earned during the province-wide school closures (from April 2021 to June 2021) towards the two online learning credits they require in order to obtain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Opting out

Parents/guardians may choose to opt their children out of the mandatory online learning credits required for graduation. To opt out, a parent/guardian must submit the Secondary Online Learning Graduation Requirement Opt-out Form. Exemption from the online learning graduation requirements may be requested by:

  • the parent/guardian of the secondary student
  • students who are 18 years of age or older
  • students who are 16 or 17 years of age and have withdrawn from parental control

Check with your local school if you have questions regarding the registration or opt-out process.

The Simcoe County District School Board recognizes that access to the internet and/or a computer may be challenging in some cases. We will accept paper copies of the Secondary Online Learning Graduation Requirement Opt-out Form.