Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning


Student Grouping

Last update: 24 August 2020

Updated sections: 

- Bubbles
- Macro-bubbles

Student Grouping Levels

Schools shall organize students by groups and ensure that measures are in place to limit mixing between groups. How grouping is determined is at the discretion of each school.

Given the high number of students that take the school bus, schools are recommended to determine grouping on at least two levels: bus groups and class groups to ensure the following:

  • All students who take private transportation would only be interacting with their class group
  • All students who ride the school bus would only interact with their class and bus groups

Any partial model adopted should consider grouping students by family to ease working parents’ schedules.

Schools shall evaluate their ability to conform with the recommendations outlined for any Students of Determination. Risk Assessments should be conducted and IEPs developed to enable Students of Determination equitable access to return to school.

Students of Determination should not be discriminated against, but where necessary, additional arrangements must be made, and resources implemented, to support their return to school alongside their peers. Arrangements should be discussed with parents and clear communication on student groupings provided.

Bus Groups

Schools are advised to organize entry/exit by bus groups as staggered entry by class groups is not possible for students arriving in school buses.

Staggered entry times are recommended for the remaining students who are arriving by other means. Schools are advised to designate specific time frames for arrival that do not coincide with bus timings.

Class Groups

Once on the school premises, groups should be organized by classes to minimize mixing with other grades.


Bubbles refer to a group of students and teachers/school staff that spend the entire school day together, and do not interact with others during this period.

*This strategy is particularly useful for reducing the risk of cross-transmission of the virus between young students who have difficulty practicing social distancing.

Bubbles consist of a maximum of 10 students and a dedicated team of teaching and/or assisting staff. Bubbles should remain in the same classroom throughout the day (except for breaks) and toys and other shared resources must not be accessible to other groups without prior cleaning and disinfection.

Bubbles are highly recommended for KG and may be considered for younger students (early Cycle 1) if staffing allows. However, schools may also choose not to use bubbles and instead group these students in regular socially distanced classrooms of 15 (with masks for Grade 1 and above). Bubbles are not possible for older students.

In the KG section, accessibility to staff who are trained in pediatric first aid and CPR is required (and a mouth mask should be available as part of their first aid kit). 

Staff who provide additional support to Students of Determination should be assigned a bubble which limits their exposure to other students. It may be necessary to divide Teaching/Learning Support Assistants into bubbles to minimize contact with other teachers and students.


*In addition to maintaining the smaller general groups (bus groups, class groups), the school should be divided into 3-4 macro-bubbles (i.e. all staff and students across grades).

There should be absolutely no mixing of spaces outside of these macro-bubbles (i.e. an art teacher may teach both Grade 1 and Grade 3 classes and therefore would be assigned to a larger macro-bubble encompassing other Grade 1 and Grade 3 teachers and students). If there was an incident, this would allow for the isolation of only that macro-bubble for testing and further action.

Exceptions may be necessary to account for schools who may have physical or operational limitations to the macro-bubble rule, in cases where there are key members of staff who need to work across more than one macro-bubble. Please ensure a separate list is kept for those individuals, as they may be subject to different procedures.