Monday, June 26th, 25 high school students from Blyth Academy in Toronto/Thornhill visited the terminals of Western Grain in Thunder Bay, en route a trip via Fort William and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park to the eventual destination of Point Porphyry Island Light, managed by Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior. This trip is part of a year-long culmination of study about Northwestern Ontario, specifically Thunder Bay and the transportation routes that have spanned Canada from the advent of the early 19th fur trade to the birth of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“This trip is part educational, part service, part adventure, and we will be helping out with trail cutting on Porphyry to help out our friends at Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior”, wrote Principal Adam de Pencier, one of two campus Principals on this trip.

To read more about this trip and hear what students have to say please click here.

– Blyth Academy

Students getting a tour of the terminals of Western Grain in Thunder Bay

Photo courtesy of Thunder Bay News

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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