COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
March 24, 2020
For those marking the Persian New Year and Kazakh New Year this past week, I would like to wish you a healthy and prosperous time for you and your loved ones, despite the difficult worldwide situation.
In these past days and weeks, throughout most countries in the world, all around us we see concerning news about the spread of COVID-19. There is much fear and worry, and many people are suffering. Normal daily life is becoming harder in countless communities. Citizens are urged to stay at home when possible. Here in Vancouver, community facilities, parks and playgrounds are now closed, and restaurants are no longer permitted to have dine-in service.
At the same time, both near and far, we are seeing inspiring examples of people showing kindness, compassion and generosity. We hear of the tireless work of hospital workers, neighbours helping one another, scientists rushing to work on vaccines and treatment, businesses changing their operation to help produce medical equipment, and so on. Likewise, we have received many warm messages of support from our students’ parents, and are very grateful for several parents in distant countries who have sent us additional protective medical supplies to help us be further prepared in case of an emergency. Parents have been reaching out to counsellors to work on individual plans for their children moving forward, either here in Canada or back home. Our homestay families with students remaining in homestay are also taking exceptional care of their students like members of their own family, supported by Ms. Mitchell, our Homestay Coordinator. From our hearts, we thank you all.
I would also like to take this opportunity during a stressful and demanding time to recognize our Bodwell staff. Our nursing team (photo at right) has stayed determined, ensuring health checks for all students and staff, encouraging preventative hygiene, and doing their very best to watch out for any flu-like symptoms on campus. Our counselling and recruitment staff have been doing all they can weekround to connect with parents and students on many questions and timely issues. Now busy working from home while managing their own family needs, our teachers are creatively redesigning their courses to deliver online to students. Teachers joined a training day last week, and have begun to connect with students both here and all over the world. More details are below. In additional, I would especially like to recognize and commend all those staff working in our Boarding Program, meal services, janitorial and housekeeping services, facility maintenance and many others for continuing to keep our campus operating in a good sense of order and calm for those students remaining here, as well as for providing engaging programming for students’ sense of wellness and mental health. When challenges arise, we are called to step up to meet them. I’m proud of what Bodwell has done, together with you, in the face of this challenge.
To the students who have travelled back home, I hope you are well. Some of you had a stressful journey. I know some of you may need to be in self-isolation for a time as a precaution. But I’m relieved you will be reunited with your families. We miss you already! Please use this time to continue your studies from a distance, and keep in touch with us on how you are doing. We look forward to seeing you back at Bodwell as soon as it is safe to do so, and to say hello in the hallways once again!
Wishing you safety and health,
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We’ve been receive a lot of important questions over the past week. Please read below for your information, and feel free to reach out to a counsellor with further questions. Some of these questions will also be addressed in the weekly video message on the MyBodwell App or MyChild site. Another newsletter later this week will answer additional questions about future planning for the rest of the term and beyond.
Social distancing means that, whenever possible, students and staff are to stay at a minimum of 2 metres from one another. This is not always easy in a school setting, however we have been putting the following measures in place: limited seating in cafeterias, lines demarking safe distancing in meal line-ups, distance seating in study classrooms, signage throughout the school, etc. Now that many boarding students have departed, we are also going to be redistributing dormitory roomming assignments to reduce the number of students per room as much as possible.
As a precaution, our onsite quarantine spaces are now fully prepared. These will be used for any student showing concerning symptoms as well as confirmed cases of COVID-19, should they occur, to quickly isolate them from the general boarding population.
What should my child be doing if he or she lives off campus, or has returned to parents’ care?
People in affected areas need to be following all the recommendations of their local health authority. In Vancouver, for our Day and Homestay students, this means staying home, maintaining social distancing, avoiding gatherings of people, and so on. See https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support for more local health orders here in BC. Day and Homestay students are encouraged to reach out to school counsellors and our Homestay Coordinator for any questions or concerns.
My child is unable to come home right now due to travel restrictions/risk, lack of flight availability, and/or the difficult health situation in my country. For how long can he or she remain in boarding?
Boarding students who are able to return to their parents’ care should do so as soon as possible. Parents are also encouraged to explore other options such as other family or friends in the Vancouver area. We know that there is some risk to long-distance travel, but we do feel that a student being at home with their family is a better situation that a dormitory living environment where, even with the best prevention in place, infections can more easily and quickly spread. The fewer students we have in boarding at this time, the fewer staff that are required to come onto campus from the community, decreasing everyone’s risk. Again, if a return to home is possible, I need to ask all parents to make the decision to arrange this as soon as possible. Home country governments may offer advice and assistance for repatriation (return to country).
There are only two qualifying reasons why a student cannot return home at this time and needs to remain in boarding: 1) travel restrictions or 2) country border closures. We are no longer able to consider other reasons (study plans, convenience, friends, comfort in living environment, etc.). For students who simply have no other option but to stay on campus, we will continue to do our very best to meet the needs of students living here for the foreseeable weeks ahead. Onsite students need to carefully follow all safety measures and routines, otherwise we will no longer be able to offer this accommodation. Please review our weekly routine and activity programming below for what boarders who need to stay can expect in the weeks ahead.
What is being done for the mental health and wellness of students who are living on campus?
We certainly recognize this is a stressful situation for students who are unable to return home and need to be limited to campus.
Nurses, counsellors, advisors and even teachers (online) have been connecting with students as much as possible on their mental health both in person and online. Boarding staff have been working hard to help students get the personal supplies that they need from stores (e.g. shampoo, other necessities, etc.). Students have also been able to sign up for daily short chaperoned walks/runs off campus in outdoor locations with fewer people, in addition to other fun activities around campus. Ms. Lee, Director of School Development, is offering weekly gardening with students on the school patios. All activities need to observe social distancing and to limit possible surface contact where germs can gather, so we are having to move away from some group sports and encourage more individual fitness activities.
How should my child spend their time?
Students are encouraged to spend at least 5 hours per day on their course work, Monday to Friday. For students remaining on campus, we have adopted the following weekday schedule using “Online Learning Blocks”.
During Online Learning Blocks, students will:
- Check and respond to all teacher emails, asking questions as necessary
- Review learning materials provided via email, complete course assignments from teachers by deadlines
- Participate in online activities and assessments, read and work on English language development.
Locations: Online Learning happens in assigned classrooms based on grade. Max: 6 students per classroom at a time. Staff circulate between classrooms to support students.
The library will host BOSS (Bodwell Online Study Support) for students needing extra learning structures and help.
What is online learning?
Sometimes called “distance learning” or “remote learning”, online learning is the use of internet-based programs and platforms to learn course content and curricular competencies. In our case, since students are transitioning from a classroom-based environment to an online environment, teachers will be continuing previous course learning structures in an online mode.
There are two types of online learning: sychronous (real-time) and asychronous (students working through materials provided by the teacher on their own time). Because our students are located both on campus, in the community and now spread all over the world, for the most part we will be using asynchronous learning. Teachers have been emailing students assignments and lessons for students to review, complete and send back to the teacher. Students can send their questions to the teacher as well. Sometimes there may be opportunities for live audio or video discussions with the teacher and classmates too, but likely this is difficult due to regional time differences.
Online learning may seem difficult for active classes such as art and physical education. Our teachers are finding creative ways to foster student learning in these areas despite the distance. For example, students in art will be able to submit their artwork via digital photographs, while students in physical education will be prompted to film their home exercise routines to demonstrate key skills in the curriculum using video. There are many unique ways to promote active learning as well as to assess students’ competencies using online learning.
Teachers are currently transitioning to Microsoft Teams, a powerful online learning platform, and we expect to have a full launch of this system by next week. See here for a Bodwell-created video about using MS Teams: https://bodwell.canto.com/b/I9B21/.
What if my child needs IT support?
For on-campus support, students can come to the Help Desk during the daytime on weekdays. Students can call the Help Desk anytime from Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST at 1-604-998-2400. Help is also available anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IT Team will also be providing support through Microsoft Teams from this Wednesday (8:30 am to midnight).
For students who are not on campus, if your laptop breaks, please do not have it repaired in your home community! Use your own personal device instead, and bring your laptop back to Bodwell when classes resume.
Thank you for taking the time to review this lengthy newsletter. Please do connect with school counsellors with further questions and we will provide more info soon.
We wish you all the best health in the challenging days together, and we are united with you in the fight against COVID-19!