The move will allow high school students to take fewer subjects per quarter to help ease the transition, if schools have to pivot between scenarios during the year due to COVID-19, a joint news release said.
It means instead of the typical four classes a day — two in the morning, two in the afternoon — students will instead only have up to one class in the morning and one in the afternoon.
In-person classes will be approximately 150 minutes long — or about two and a half hours — which the boards say is the same amount of instructional time as classes did in a two-semester schedule, just condensed into about 40 days.
Diploma exams will be held November, January, April and June for each quarter.
“By moving to a quarterly schedule next year, it will allow our high schools to be nimble and adapt quickly if the situation with COVID-19 changes during the year,” Edmonton Public Schools superintendent Darrel Robertson said.
“Students can focus on fewer subjects at a time to make the transition to at-home learning easier, if needed.”
Most high schools throughout the city will offer a quarterly schedule except for J.H. Picard Catholic and Edmonton Public high schools that offer unique programming, such as K-12 schools or a specialized high school program.
“Edmonton Catholic Schools has been using the quarterly schedule for a few years at Cardinal Collins Catholic High School Academic Centre, and the students there have reported that quartermesters have worked extremely well for them,” Edmonton Catholic chief superintendent Robert Martin.
“Some of the benefits of the quarterly schedule is the ability to focus on fewer courses at one time and having a shorter exam break between quarters.”