An Update From Your Principal

Dear Students, Parents & Guardians,

I hope this message finds you all well and enjoying the onset of May. This weekend promises to be a beautiful one and I encourage everyone to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise while still maintaining physical distancing protocols. Our students know I like to say, “Make good choices!” as they walk out the door on a Friday; same message here! As you have likely seen, public schools in Ontario have announced that they will be extending closures until at least May 31. Not surprisingly, Blyth Academy will be following suit. This is disappointing, but necessary, in order to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect all in our community. We will of course continue on with teaching and learning in our virtual classrooms and work together to further improve the virtual school experience for all.

In closing here today, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the stress and struggle that many are experiencing while we practice physical distancing and work together to flatten the curve. The task is the same for students as it is for the rest of us: make room to talk about the struggle and stress, make time for what nurtures you, and throughout, stay solutions-oriented and do your best. You can’t ask more than that of yourself. On that front, I wanted to share with you an activity that the faculty team took part in this week that we really felt nurtured us. We took a moment to think about and share with one another something that our present reality has introduced to our lives that we are grateful for and makes us happy. Turns out, even the little things – like not having to think about what to pack for lunch are bringing us joy right now! If you have a moment this weekend (and I suspect you will; time is, for once, on our side), I encourage you to try this activity with your family. For us, the positive effects of the share were substantial and not short-lived.

Be well and wonderful out there, Blyth ET!

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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