National Order of Merit: His Majesty The King, yesterday, awarded the National Order of Merit, Gold, to Sam Blyth and Nancy Strickland, in recognition of their personal commitment to promote relations between Bhutan and Canada, and their contributions in the field of education for over 25 years. Sam Blyth is the Chair of the Bhutan Canada Foundation and the Honorary Consul of Bhutan in Toronto, Canada. Nancy Strickland is the Executive Director of the Bhutan Canada Foundation. The award also honours the numerous hard working and dedicated teachers recruited through Bhutan Canada Foundation, many of whom continue to teach in schools in rural Bhutan, for their valuable contributions to the development of education in the country. Over 50 teachers have been recruited to teach English, Math and Science in schools in rural Bhutan since the establishment of Bhutan Canada Foundation in February 2009. Bhutan Canada Foundation carries on the long association between Bhutan and Canada in the education sector that started 50 years ago when Father Mackey came to Bhutan in 1963.

via Kuensel

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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