Posted on December 20, 2020, by , in COVID-19, Featured, with No Comments

School Newsletter

December 2020

Message from the Principal

Dear Bodwell students and Parents,

The Year 2020, for all of its promise, will be remembered as the year in which the entire world, on top of all its existing challenges, was threatened by a new health emergency: the COVID-19 pandemic.  The dramatic loss of millions of lives and the long-term impacts on many of those infected will be a worldwide setback felt for generations to come.  Not only this – the interruption of learning by countless students and the loss of livelihoods by vast portions of the global workforce have been significant.

At the same time, the world has come together to try to adapt and overcome this crisis.  We share a deep appreciation for frontline health care workers saving lives, scientific researchers racing to develop vaccines and treatments, and for all the public services and businesses providing essential services in our communities throughout this difficult time, often at their own risk.  We are grateful to parents, students and educators around the world for renewing their belief in the importance of learning and social development of young people through schools.

Here at Bodwell, we have been exceptionally fortunate.  Safely running a vibrant and engaging school and boarding program this year for many students from around the world has happened thanks to the hard work and resilience of our entire Bodwell team, from program staff to support staff; our brave and cooperative students; and you, our caring and trusting parents.  Without everyone’s courage, adaptability and determination, we would not have been able to achieve such a successful result this year.

From our “bubble” to yours, we wish everyone a safe, peaceful and healthy year-end, and a hopeful and restorative new year ahead.



Stephen Goobie


Saturday Alternate Programming

As you know, our Saturday Enrichment Program is on pause until Spring 2020 as an extra precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

For the past few weeks, students have had access to the following drop-in alternatives on Saturday mornings:

  • Sports & Physical Health with Mr. Tom Walker
    • Open Gym (Volleyball + Basketball) and Pool Open
  • IELTS Support with Mr. Happy Gosal
    • Students taking the in-house IELTS in Dec or Jan are strongly encouraged to join these prep sessions before their test.
  • Outdoor Recreation with Mr. James Roche
    • Off-campus hikes for small groups to local wilderness sites.

In-school English Progress Assessment and official IELTS Exam Updates

On November 17, all students wrote the English Progress Assessment (EPA), our in-house standardized assessment based on the IELTS Exam, with the following outcome:

  • Overall, we are pleased to see an improvement in the average result compared to the previous writing in Fall 2019, notably in the area of writing – an 8% improvement.
  • Grade 9 students showed the sharpest improvement among all grades. Great work!
  • Students who took both the Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 EPA improved their scores by 15%; writing was a large contributor to the score increase, improving by 24%. 46 students improved their score by at least one full point (on the IELTS scale, aiming for at least 6.5 for university entrance)!
  • From our data, we can see that students who score high on the EPA also tend to score high on the official IELTS Exam. The official IELTS exam includes a speaking assessment, so some discrepancy between the EPA and official IELTS result is to be expected.
  • Saturday IELTS Prep class appears to have a positive impact on students’ EPA result.

A large number of students wrote the official IELTS Exam here on campus this semester and recently received their results.  We will bring updates soon on the overall analysis of the latest scores!

Winter Break

Winter Break extends from December 19 to January 3 with no changes to the original dates.

While a few boarding students will stay with local family over the entire break, most boarding students will remain on campus throughout the break due to travel restrictions.  As a result, it will certainly be our largest and most lively group ever staying on campus for the holidays!  We know some students will miss seeing their family at this time, especially those who could not travel home earlier this year.

For this reason, we have planned for a highly engaging break program full of opportunities for students to stay active and healthy and to enjoy fun times together.  As many venues and events have been cancelled or temporarily closed in the community, our focus will be on providing a wide variety of social activities here on campus.  Students may still apply for brief weekly leave passes as well as exercise passes, and some small group outings will be offered on a limited basis with extra safety measures in place.  Some highlights of the many on-campus holiday activities include:

  • Pinball machine competitions
  • Hip hop dance class, boxing lessons
  • Archery tag, bubble soccer, laser tag
  • A Holiday Talent Show
  • Cultural Cooking Series with school counsellors


Boarding staff, nursing staff and many  counsellors will continue to support students with their personal needs over the break so that everyone stays healthy and positive.  It is important for students to talk to a staff if they are feeling down or have any concerns.

Grade 12 Capstone Presentations: January 18th – 22nd

The grade 12 Career Life Connections (CLC) classes have been working hard over the last 4 months to complete their graduation Capstone Project:

    • The Capstone Project is a research based project that focuses on students’ career and post-secondary goals by exploring a specific topic/inquiry question.
    • Students have spent time connecting with professionals in their desired field and creating a product that demonstrates their learning from the research they have done.
    • The Capstone also acts as a way for students to share their transformation from coming to high school, goals and future plans.
    • By doing this project, students get a chance to learn firsthand what it will be like to study their desired fields and enter the careers of their choice.

In January, students will be presenting their final projects to a panel of staff and students. It is always inspiring to see the amount of work students have put in their presentations and to hear their stories. All presentations will be recorded and can be shared with parents who are interested.


During this time when cooler weather and need for good ventilation means wearing some extra layers, students are reminded that they need to be wearing their full proper Bodwell uniform, including black shoes.  Students may wear a sweater, jacket or hoodie on top of the Bodwell uniform for extra warmth.

Co-Curricular Learning in Spring 2020

Fall 2020 saw the introduction of G-Block, in which students receive academic and language support from teachers as well as active learning opportunities in a wide variety of interest areas.

Language support has included:

  • “English for Post-Secondary” (helping students progress in their academic language toward a stronger IELTS score)
  • Writing & Learning Clinic
  • AEP (Academic & English Preparation) Tutoring.

Academic support has included, for example:

  • Chemistry/Biology
  • Math Skills 8/9
  • Post-Secondary Prep

Activity learning has included, for example:

  • K-Pop Dance
  • Cross Fit Boys & Girls
  • Grad Co-op Program, which has created a number of student-led initiatives

After a review of G-Block so far, we plan the following for Spring 2020:

    1. All Bodwell students will take a minimum of two and a maximum of four weekly offerings in G-Block, within which:
      1. All Bodwell students will take a minimum of one active learning offering in G-Block .
      2. All Bodwell students will take a minimum of one English language support offering in G-Block, except those who are exempt.  *Students in Regular Academic Grades 10-12 below an EPA/IELTS of 5.5 are recommended to take two blocks of language support.
      3. In addition to a & b, Grade 8/9 students will take an additional active learning offering and an additional academic/language support offering as needed in G-Block.
      4. In addition to a & b, Grades 10-12 students will take at least one additional offering in G-Block, based on their assessed individual need.
    1. Students can request to be exempted from G-Blocks after midterms, pending their results.

  1. All students will take two S-Block Enrichment courses (or one all-morning course) each Saturday based on their assessed individual need, except those who are exempt.

Room ventilation

As you know, we have prioritized ventilation and air quality as a significant measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We know from research that COVID-19 is spread through the air through droplets and aerosol particles.

Throughout this fall, our building team has been busy making additional improvements to our ventilation.  High quality MERV13 filters were received and installed in our HVAC system.

The building team has been monitoring CO2 levels in various rooms as a hallmark for accumulating aerosols. We have added fans exhausting air to outside, proving helpful to further lower CO2 levels.

As well, our mechanical engineer confirmed that “UV is very effective, particularly against SARS-COV-2 as it is highly susceptible to it.”

We have installed PURE AIR UV air purifiers and UV lights to several places in the school ventilation and air conditioning system, including:

  • student lounges on boarding floors
  • staff offices
  • counselling offices
  • nursing offices
  • boarding offices

We are confident that these modifications, along with many other measures, are continuing to keep the risk of COVID-19 low for Bodwell students and staff – and so we can all breathe easier!


IMPORTANT ACTION:  All parents are asked to fill out the Arrival Planning Form by December 31, 2020. Do NOT book a flight before your arrival date has been approved by our arrivals team.

Arrival quarantine process

To keep our school and community safe, we need to ensure that students who arriving to campus have not contracted the COVID-19 virus.  This challenge of this virus is that it can be spread even before the onset of symptoms.  After a “safety window” of 2 weeks, we can be assured that someone living in isolation from others is not carrying the virus.

Currently, Canada requires any arriving traveler to self-isolate for two weeks.  Bodwell will need new and returning students arriving for Spring 2021 via an airport to isolate for two weeks prior to joining our regular boarding population.  This is to ensure our school upholds the highest safety standards for your children. Students who are living locally or who are travelling with their family members may apply for an exemption (see below); if approved, these students may immediately join our boarding population after a health check.

Our quarantine plan:
  1. On-campus spaces for quarantine are limited and will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Students are encouraged to plan carefully.
  2. Should on-campus spaces be full, students will be placed to a homestay family
  3. Should no space be available on-campus or in homestay, an alternate travel date must be arranged.
Boarding fees during quarantine
    1. To assist parents, boarding fees before February 7 will be 50% of the regular fee, to be charged on a weekly basis. There will be an additional quarantine service fee of $500. The school will provide safe airport transfer, meal service, health checks, supervision and meaningful routines.

  1. Homestay quarantine will follow a similar fee structure.

For any additional information, please contact

January 4 Fall 2020 Classes Resume
January 8 Professional Development Day: No classes in session
January 9 In-house IELTS Exam
January 22 AEP Standardized Test
January 26 & 27 Numeracy Exam
February 1 – 3 Fall Semester Final Exams
February 4 – 8 Term Break: Departing/Graduating Students to Depart on February 4th
February 9 Starts of Spring Semester 2021

Message to Parents from the newly-appointed British Columbia Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside

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