In 2013, four of our campuses have volunteered with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Blyth Burlington, Lawrence Park, Whitby and Yorkville all deserve huge congratulations for their in effort to support this incredibly organisation that works tirelessly to provide access to safe and affordable housing for people around the world.

On February 7th, students, teachers, staff and members of the community came together at the Blyth Whitby campus for a lovely evening in support of Habitat for Humanity Durham and Art With a Heart Inc. The Blyth Whitby students had been working with Sheri Gundry of Art With a Heart Inc. to create works of art on reclaimed cupboard doors provided by the local Habitat RESTORE. The art was then auctioned off at the event, and over $1600 was donated to the Habitat For Humanity Centre Town Build in Oshawa.

A couple of months later, on April 22nd, groups of students from the Burlington, Lawrence Park and Yorkville campuses volunteered with local chapters of Habitat for Humanity, both on build sites, and at RESTORE locations.

Students at the Burlington campus spent a day on a build site in Hamilton where they assisted in framing, building shed doors, and general cleanup. They even got to use power tools! The team was incredibly helpful at the build site and everyone was impressed by how kind, compassionate, and professional the students were.

Meanwhile, students at the Yorkville and Lawrence Park campuses worked at two different RESTORE locations. RESTORE acts as a fundraising source for Habitat for Humanity. The stores accept donations of used household materials like doors, window, faucets, chairs, washing machines, sinks etc. which are then sold to offset some of the costs of building houses. Students helped to sell weathered doors, cleanup old lamps and plant flowers.

In addition to volunteering with Habitat, the students also fundraised for the organisation in advance. The four campuses combined raised over $3,500 for Habitat for Humanity. Blyth Whitby and Blyth Burlington in particular deserve a big shout out for their incredible fundraising efforts!

Special thanks to Sheri Gundry, Renu Chattha, Kim Hacker and Ashlee Rideout from Blyth Whitby and teachers Turner Blain, Hollye Irvine and Alec Zigar for coordinating the April 22nd volunteer days at the Burlington, Lawrence Park and Yorkville campuses.

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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