COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

how WE’RE KEEPING STUDENTS AND STAFF SAFE

Updated: August 23, 2021

Welcome Back!

Our campuses are continuing with our traditional four-term system of instruction with a full schedule of in-person classes each day. We are also planning for the reintroduction and continuation of in-person extracurricular activities and larger school events.

All current health and safety protocols such as screening, hand hygiene and physical distancing, to mention a few, will remain in place at our campuses and updated as needed with guidance from Public Health. The use of non-medical or cloth masks indoors on school property remains mandatory for all students and staff at this time, subject to evolving Ministry directions.

Our back-to-school plan is based on advice, guidance, and directives of provincial and local public health officials, as well as the expertise of both the wider medical and scientific communities with emphasis given to the Science Table COVID-19 Advisory for Ontario.

We cannot underestimate the power of social responsibility in drastically reducing the spread of COVID-19, and we need everyone on board for it to work. Our actions play an integral role in this plan. Everyone has to do their part and collaboratively we will succeed in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 by securing a safe and engaging learning environment and a return to regular and consistent in-person learning.

We’ve missed you!

Vaccination Requirements

The safety of our students and our school communities are paramount to us. We also acknowledge that in-person learning is critical for the learning and overall well-being of our students. For these reasons, all staff and students will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Staff
    • For the 2021- 2022 school year, all of our staff will be fully vaccinated for the commencement of classes this September.
  • Students
    • All students, 12 years of age and older, attending a Blyth Academy campus must be fully vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes. Students who have received only their first dose will be required to demonstrate their commitment to completing the vaccination regimen. Vaccination exemptions may be granted to students who present a note from a medical doctor.
    • Per the guidance of the Ministry of Health, students under the age of 12 will not require vaccination. If a student turns 12 during the academic year, the expectation will be that they demonstrate a commitment to completing the vaccine regimen.
  • International Students
    • International students who have received all recommended doses of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine given outside of Ontario or Canada are considered to have a complete vaccine series and no additional doses are needed. Per the Government of Canada, there should be no restrictions on entering the country.
    • International students not vaccinated with a Canadian-approved vaccine may have to undergo necessary protocols upon entry into the country. However, students vaccinated with a full regimen of a WHO emergency use listed vaccine will be considered fully vaccinated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and allowed to attend in-person classes.
    • Students who have not received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO may be offered a new series of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine once they arrive. Though it is recommended they try to get their full dose of WHO Emergency Use Listed vaccines in their home country before arriving in Canada.

Current Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

Campuses:

Burlington: 0

Downsview Park: 0

Etobicoke: 0

The Glebe (Ottawa): 0

Lawrence Park: 0

London: 0

Mississauga: 0

Waterloo: 0

Whitby: 0

Thank you for your support as we work to help keep our communities healthy and safe.

For more information on how to apply to one of Blyth Academy’s campuses, please click here.

Our Classrooms:

All staff on campus are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

All students (12 years of age or older) attending in-person classes are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Physical distancing is being practiced

Masks are worn by students and staff while on campus

Small class sizes are being adhered to

Alternative learning arrangements for students who are displaying symptoms will be provided (i.e. virtual classroom)

Outdoor space is being utilized as much as possible

Grades 4 – 10 will return to full-time class five days a week

Grades 11 and 12 will return to full-time class, except when larger classes need to be split into cohorts to comply with physical distancing

Blyth Academy Orbit virtual classes and Blyth Academy Online courses are available for students who cannot attend in-person classes or for families who are not comfortable returning to physical schools

Our Community:

Regular updates are being communicated to families via Edsby or email

We offer flexibility as students adjust to new learning

Mental health resources have been shared with students and parents

Our Safety:

Increased sanitation stations around campus

Regular and enhanced cleaning schedules

Monitoring of health by families using provided checklists

Any student or staff member displaying symptoms is to stay home

Students are organized into cohorts in order to limit contact

Plexiglass has been installed in appropriate office spaces

Hand sanitizer is available in classrooms, offices, entrances and exits

Hallways and stairwells have been designated for one way flow

COVID-19 Protocol FAQs

What is the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) recommendation regarding student cohort sizes?

The MOE in conjunction with Public Health has suggested students be part of at most two in person class cohorts. Blyth Academy’s quadmester structure ensures that this standard is met.

How will staff and students be screened for symptoms?

Staff and students will be expected to self screen and remain at home if they feel unwell. Families will be provided with screening checklists from Public Health which all students and staff must complete every day (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/).

What protocols are in place for students or staff who develop symptoms at school or who test positive?

In cases where students develop symptoms or who test positive, Blyth Academy will follow the guidance provided by the local Public Health Unit.

What cleaning protocols are in place?

Blyth Academy has arranged for enhanced cleaning protocols for all campuses on a daily basis. Washrooms and high touch surfaces will be cleaned more frequently. Students may not share items. In the event of a suspected case Public Health will dictate the required cleaning.

What reminders will be in place for students to follow appropriate hand hygiene and safety procedures?

Hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and directional signage will be posted throughout the campus. Reminders to maintain physical distance will also be posted. In addition, all staff and students will receive training on safety procedures during the orientation days in September. Frequent reminders will follow throughout the term.

Will masks be required?

Masks will be mandatory for everyone in the building.

Will masks be provided?

Masks will be provided for staff. Students will be required to provide their own cloth or medical masks. Extra masks will be available on campus for those who forget.

Will visitors be allowed on campus?

At this time we are allowing private in-person tours to be conducted outside of school hours.

Will families be able to choose between in person and virtual learning?

Students who are uncomfortable returning to school have the opportunity to attend Blyth Academy Orbit, our fully synchronous, face to face, virtual campus. Campuses also allow for virtual learning options for their on-site classes

Will live streaming be available to elementary i.e. grade 5 - 8 students?

Yes, live streaming will be available for this age group. Blyth Academy Orbit will also be available for Grades 7 and 8. 

Is student mental health being considered in the planning?

Staff are aware that this has been a difficult time for our students and that many are feeling anxious. Our small, personalized environments, commitment to regular communication with families and dedicated guidance counsellors are among the strategies that we believe will assist students this fall. All guidance counsellors are participating in a dedicated PD session on mental health prior to the September school start up.

How do you anticipate communicating to parents?

Blyth Academy is committed to regular and timely communication in all circumstances.

Are there special requirements for private schools?

As a private school, Blyth Academy is committed to following all recommendations from both the Ontario Ministry of Education and Ontario Public Health.

Will international students be allowed to attend?

At this point in time we anticipate that international students who have been granted student visas will be able to attend classes.

International students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend Blyth Academy. Students who are not vaccinated or vaccinated with non-Heath Canada authorized vaccines may be required to isolate and to go through additional testing.

Are there any changes to graduation requirements?

In 2021-22, the required number of hours for community involvement activities will be reduced from 40 to a minimum of 20 hours for graduating students.

The community involvement graduation requirement of 40 hours will be restored in 2022-23.

Students graduating in the 2021-22 school year are exempted from the literacy graduation requirement.

The literacy graduation requirement will be restored for students graduating in the 2022-23 school year. Students in Grades 10 and 11 and non-graduating students, including those who are learning remotely, are required to work towards the literacy graduation requirement, through participating in the OSSLT.

Will field trips occur?

Field trips will be reinstated for the 2021-2022 school year.

Will clubs and extra-curricular activities be provided?

Extra-curricular activities, where possible, will return to an in-person delivery mode. 

Will schools have assemblies?

All large gatherings will be held virtually.

What is in place to protect staff?

Blyth has made it a requirement for all staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Act applies. All staff should receive training prior to school reopening. A Joint Health and Safety representative must be appointed and trained in each school.

What are some of the possible adaptations for the school environment?

  • Staggered bell times

  • Maximize use of entrances/exits

  • Hand sanitizer, designated routes, visual cues

  • Stagger periods of movement

  • Limit congregation of staff/students

  • Special consideration for science labs etc.

  • Utilizing outdoor classrooms whenever possible.

What special considerations are in place for washrooms?

Washrooms will be cleaned twice daily and provided with adequate supplies of hand sanitizer and soap. Breaks will be arranged to prevent crowding in washrooms and signage reminders will be in place.

What procedures are in place to keep students safe on campus?

As a private school, Blyth Academy is committed to following all recommendations from both the Ontario Ministry of Education and Ontario Public Health. These will vary from campus to campus and over time as direction from these experts changes

Will the campus have an isolation room?

Yes. PPE will be supplied and the room will be cleaned thoroughly after use.

What are the procedures for eating on campus?

Students will be required to eat in classrooms or outside at staggered times. Hand hygiene procedures will be followed.
Students should bring reusable water bottles rather than drinking from water fountains. Self serve items, microwaves, fridges and shared utensils will not be available.

Are students allowed to bring personal items to school?

Personal items should be minimized, not shared and stored separately.

Are COVID-19 vaccines required for in-person learning?

The safety of our students and our school communities are paramount to us. We also acknowledge that in-person learning is critical for the learning and overall well-being of our students.

For these reasons, for the 2021- 2022 school year, all of our staff will be fully vaccinated for the commencement of classes this September. Moreover, all students, 12 years of age and older, attending a Blyth Academy campus must be fully vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes. Students who have received only their first dose will be required to demonstrate their commitment to completing the vaccination regimen.

What if I am not vaccinated?

For those students that are not able to attend in-person learning, we will continue to provide an alternative virtual option that supports the classroom experience. Our fully virtual campus, Blyth Academy Orbit, offers our programming to students at home through live teacher-led classes at regularly scheduled times. For those who need more flexibility, we offer a high school experience beyond the classroom through self-paced courses through our online high school, Blyth Academy Online.

Attend an information session

Learn more about our campuses by attending an information session!

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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