Wrapping Up Term Four

 
Dear Students, Parents & Guardians,

It has been so great to see some of our students (and parents!) this week as you came to clean out your lockers. I miss seeing you everyday and have welcomed the opportunity to catch up with you.

Any lockers that have not been cleaned out by the end of June will have the locks cut off and their contents will be bagged and stored, as we need to have the lockers cleaned by the custodian over the summer in preparation for the new school year.

Speaking of next year, I know that many of you are eager to hear more about what September might look like. Unfortunately, I don’t have a confirmed answer for you on that front yet. So much depends upon expected announcements from the Ministry of Education at the end of June and pandemic rates in our province and city as we approach September. What I can tell you is that I am part of a team that is working daily at planning for several scenarios so that we will be well-prepared come September. Luckily, as you have seen over the past few months, we have a proven solution in our virtual classrooms that has allowed our students to continue learning and interacting in meaningful ways over this period, at levels not available to the vast majority of students in Ontario. We will continue to ensure that our students are progressing in their learning and growth come September. Next week, I’ll be sharing with you a date for a town hall style meeting where our team will share information on our plans and answer questions from you. As such, I invite you to email your questions about the return to school in September to me over the next week so that we can ensure that we address them when we meet.

Next week, we have a couple of virtual events to put on your radar.

· On June 17 at 9:00 a.m., our Foundations students will be participating in a webinar called “Our Planet Our Business” as part of our collaboration with WWF. Students will hear from a panel of experts from WWF about how the global community can help to tackle the world’s environmental crisis.
· On June 19 during period 1, students in Grades 9 – 11 will hear from our student council presidential candidates and cast their votes to elect the Blyth ET 20/21 school council leader. Stay tuned for more information on this from your period 1 teachers next week!

In closing, I would like to send a thank you out to Samantha H. for organizing this week’s guest speaker. Yesterday, students had the opportunity to hear from Najma Aryan who shared her experience in pursuing her current position in pharmaceuticals at UCB Canada and spoke about the importance of networking, marketing yourself, and taking chances. Thanks, Samantha!

Have a beautiful weekend Blyth ET and be wonderful out there!

Best,
Laurie Foley

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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