Pickering College - Learning For Life. Creating The Future.

Boarding Program

We understand that the decision to have your child attend boarding school during these unprecedented times is a difficult one. This year, like every other year, our planning focuses on providing your child with the safest boarding environment that will be their "home away from home" for the school year.

There are many changes that we will be implementing for the sake of student safety and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. We are dedicated to our "family atmosphere and groups.” This year our Boarding Families will also be the cohort (small group) of students in boarding with whom they live closest and share washrooms. We will continue to provide the caring, nurturing environment to which you have come to depend and that ensures students in boarding to develop maturity, self-confidence, independence and resilience. We want to work together with you to ensure that your child has the best experience possible under these unique circumstances. Rest assured, we will care for your child with attention to their well-being and success.    

If you have any questions about boarding, please feel welcome to contact Laura Mason - Director of Boarding and Health Services at lmason@pickeringcollege.on.ca.


Self-Isolation Plan

Pickering College has partnered with the Comfort Inn - Newmarket; located at 1230 Journey’s End Circle, to provide a Self-Isolation Program that will allow returning boarding students to stay in a hotel room for the required 14-day self-isolation period that is required by the Quarantine Act Emergency Order – extended until July 31, 2020. They will be under the supervision of Pickering College staff who will be on duty at all times when there is a student staying at the hotel.

Upon arrival, students are required to go directly from the airport to their self-isolation location. Once in the hotel room, students are not permitted to leave. Students are provided with snacks and meals delivered to their room. While in self-isolation, Admission will complete a virtual registration. Boarding staff are responsible to collect documents from students. Students will have access to a PC staff member at the hotel 24 hours per day via phone. Students are required to change their bedding as needed. If laundry services are needed, Soap Box Laundry Services will pick up, wash, dry and fold laundry before returning it back to the hotel.

The Pickering College staff will conduct twice a day health checks on the students and record the results. The program will include evening programming that can be done virtually using Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Meals will be delivered to the room as well as an afternoon and evening snack.

During the isolation program, students will participate in the boarding orientation and team building activities virtually.

The Self-Isolation Plan was developed for a set time frame but is now flexible enough to accommodate the different arrival dates of the boarding students so it will become part of the staffing schedule.

Students in the PC Self-Isolation Program will have a COVID-19 test performed on day 11/12 before moving into residence.

For more information or to register for the Pickering College Self-Isolation Plan, please contact Laura Mason - Director of Boarding and Health Services at lmason@pickeringcollege.on.ca.


Financial Considerations

While Boarding is open, and we are planning for in-person learning, we know that a number of our boarding students will begin the school year online as the Canadian border may remain closed to them. While the students are studying online, we have introduced a rebate structure for the 2020-2021 school year. Families will receive a rebate per month to match the appropriate day tuition level and receive an additional rebate of $300 CAD/month for variable costs saved while boarding students are not on campus. The total monthly rebates are as follows:

Type Cost

5 Day Canadian Boarding

$ 2,060 CAD/month

Canadian Boarding

$ 3,584 CAD/month

International Boarding

$ 3,884 CAD/month

These rebates will be calculated on a monthly basis and will be credited to families at the end of December, March and June should boarding students not be able to come to campus. These credits will also be prorated for students who are receiving financial assistance in the 2020-2021 school year.


Long Weekends and Break Closures

Boarding will remain open for the long weekends (October, November, February, April and May) and extended breaks (December and March) for this year. This will minimize the need for students to leave boarding and stay off campus risking exposure to other people and places. Programming will be in place for the breaks to encourage students to participate in different activities around campus. Should families wish to remain on-campus for the extended break periods, there will be an additional fee for this program (to be communicated at a later date).



Come Board Program

Suspended until further notice

The popular Come Board Program that allows for Day students to pay to stay in boarding for short periods of time during the school year will be suspended until further notice.


“Welcome to Boarding”

Mentorship Program for New Boarding Students

It is our plan to introduce our Welcome to Boarding Mentorship Program this summer that will pair new students with returning boarding Proctors (students in boarding who hold a leadership position). This will give new students a chance to get to know some of people they will be spending the school year with and an opportunity to ask questions. At Pickering College, we are very proud of our foundation of community. As a new boarding family, you are an important part of our community and we will do all we can to make your experience a great one.


Dynamic and Engaging Boarding Program

Our programming options have changed, as outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Health directive, but that will not keep us from delivering a dynamic and engaging program complete with an online orientation that will include all aspects of boarding life, expectations and self-care during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Boarding Programming

  • Boarding students will be given a scheduled time on move in day to prevent crowding and allow for physical distancing. Families will be notified via email of move in day appointment times

  • Boarding programming will be built around the principles of cohorting and physical distancing

  • Students who are not able to start in-person classes and be physically in Boarding in September due to study permits and/or travel restrictions are still an integral part of the boarding community. To facilitate this, each new student will have a boarding student mentor (Proctor) assigned during the summer in an effort to provide them with a student connection. With their permission, they will be contacted over the summer to begin to develop their relationship with the Student Leaders and smaller groups of new students

  • All students, regardless of where they are physically located, are part of our boarding community. All boarding evening/weekend and orientation activities will include our entire community whenever possible with a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person or where restrictions of numbers for gatherings are in effect

  • Evening programming and orientation activities (including COVID-19 considerations and protocols) for boarding students will be done virtually or in small cohorts

  • The start of the year boarding school traditions (mini golf, YMCA Cedar Glen and the Boat Cruise) will not take place for the 2020-2021 school year but will be replaced by small cohort activities that endeavour to build community

Boarding Excursions

As government restrictions are lifted and the numbers of COVID-19 cases trend downward in York Region, we will reinstate the weekly local excursions to Upper Canada Mall, the grocery store and Walmart. Provided it is still allowable according to government restrictions, students will be permitted to sign out to Main St. etc. but they must follow COVID-19 rules for retail establishments that include the need to wear a mask or mouth covering at all indoor locations.

Major excursions will not be planned for the fall term due to COVID-19. We will do some additional on-campus activities to keep students interacting and give them opportunities to develop and cultivate relationships.


Evening Study

As we begin the school year with physical distancing requirements in place, we will have in-room study each evening from Sunday to Thursday. Students are required to study at their desk for a minimum of 1.5 hours each evening. Study is supervised and supported by our boarding staff (Associate Faculty and Residence staff). They are available to assist students as needed during this time.



Room Assignments

Pickering College will endeavour to put students in a single room and assign them a specific washroom that they will share with a limited group of boarding students.

If there is a need to put students in double rooms, the large rooms in Firth House will be used and the furniture configuration in New House will be adjusted so that students are sleeping as far apart as possible.



Boarding will be staffed by the House Directors, Associate Faculty and Residence staff.

Staff will be scheduled at the Comfort Inn at all times when there are student(s) completing their mandatory 14-day self-isolation. The Duty Offices will be staffed during the day if there are students who are attending online classes for the day.


Boarding Safety Plan

The Boarding program has put measures in place to mitigate the risk to our boarding students. Although we cannot fully protect everyone from the COVID-19 virus, we can put measures in place to attempt to reduce the risk to our boarding community.

Students from Grades JK-12 are required to wear a non-medical or cloth mask while in school buildings and classrooms. Reasonable exceptions will be made as required for medical or sensory conditions.

Students will be placed in “families” that will double as their cohort in an effort to keep groups of students together. The family system will remain in place as it has been for many years, the difference will be that family members will also be a cohort and live in the same general area of the residence.

The flow of traffic in the residences will be directed to ensure as much physical distancing as possible. Flow control measures will include floor and wall markings.

Day students and visitors are not permitted in the residences.

Daily Screenings/Temperature

Boarding staff will complete the screening app (Edusafe) for each boarding student every morning before school including a temperature check. Boarding staff will be instructed on how to take a temperature properly by the Health Centre staff and each Duty Office will be equipped with a contactless thermometer.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices

  • Housekeeping will disinfect high touch points twice daily with the approved cleaning/disinfecting products

  • Students will be required to clean and disinfect their room on a daily basis. Staff will check right before study to ensure that all surfaces in the student room have been cleaned and disinfected

  • Washrooms will have sinks designated out of service to assist with physical distancing measures

  • The Duty Office will be cleaned and disinfected at the beginning and end of each shift by the staff on duty. A daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol will be done by Housekeeping each morning


If COVID-19 testing is needed, the Health Centre will take the swab and send it to LifeLabs to be tested. It is estimated that it will take 48 hours to get the test results back from the lab.

Illness Policy

Boarding students who are ill with COVID-19 like symptoms will be admitted to the Health Centre and cared for in the Main Health Centre until they are well.

If someone who is symptomatic tests negative for COVID-19, they must remain off school/work for 72 hours after their symptoms have resolved without the use of medication.

If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they must remain off school/work and quarantined for 14 days after the onset of symptoms. Boarding students should work out a plan with their local custodian to ensure that they have spoken about the possibility of them staying there if they are quarantined due to COVID-19 type symptoms.

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Those who have COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. If the illness progresses and becomes severe, hospitalization may be necessary. For most people, the cold like symptoms can be alleviated by pain/fever medication. Those with COVID-19 should also drink plenty of fluids, get as much rest and sleep as possible, and a humidifier or hot shower may help with the sore throat and cough.

Mental Health and Well-Being 

The mental health and well-being of all members of our community is very important. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful on society and has an impact on everyone around the globe. We are committed to supporting our students through various options on and off campus. 

  • Students have access to Guidance and Health Services (school counsellor and nurses) to address or discuss their concerns and worries
  • Students may be referred to outside services with our community partners if additional mental health support is required


Food Services

Food remains an important part of our boarding experience, but in this new environment, the delivery of meals will be different. We will continue to provide high quality food offerings, choice and special dietary meals to our students.

Breakfast and dinner will take place in the Dining Hall to support community building. We will have reduced density in the Dining Hall, with staggered eating times and hot items will be individually plated and served by Aramark staff to the students from behind physical barriers. Cutlery will be individually packaged. Individual drinks will also be provided to the students and additional cold items will be individually packaged for students. Hand sanitizing routines before and after lunch will be a part of the lunch process. We will also continue to offer an evening snack that students can pick up and take back to their room.

There will be one-way traffic flow in and out of the Dining Hall as well as the use of physical barriers and floor signs to support physical distancing as students wait to enter the Servery. Our Aramark Food Services staff will be implementing enhanced disinfection and sanitizing protocols in both the kitchen and Servery which includes the use of PPE as needed.