Posted on May 13, 2020, by , in COVID-19, Featured, with No Comments

School Newsletter

May 2020


  • British Columbia’s health situation is under control, but we still need to be careful.

  • Our campus isolation continues, with some positive changes coming soon.

  • Online learning will continue for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Term.

  • We intend to offer in-person learning in the 2020-2021 school year, while planning for safety.

  • July courses will be online. August courses are offered in-person with special arrival procedures.

  • To help parents at a difficult time, tuition for July and August courses will be reduced.

  • Students still on campus who cannot return home will be taken care of throughout the summer.

  • Important dates include our Graduation Ceremony 2020, held online on June 12.

Message from the Principal

Key Points

  • Good news: British Columbia has lower numbers of COVID-19 infections compared to other places in Canada and other regions.
  • BC has a plan to relax some restrictions this summer, but we need to keep some safety steps in place.
  • Our campus will continue an isolation model, however we are looking for gradual ways to help students and staff to enjoy the outside community and work together in the coming weeks.

In the past weeks, it has become clear that our world has changed in very significant and real ways. With cases of COVID-19 surpassing more than four million worldwide, including nearly 300 000 tragic deaths, we are seeing a heavy toll on human life, as well as on our personal well-being and local and national economies. We are all worried about the health and safety of our loved ones.

While medical workers work tirelessly to save lives in hospitals, citizens have joined together to do their part in communities around the world by staying home whenever possible, keeping a distance from one another, and taking many other steps in order to slow down the spread of the virus. Humans are social creatures, so these sacrifices have not been easy, especially for young people who are out of regular school life.

The good news is that in many places, these extreme steps are working to prevent too many people from getting sick at the same time. Here in British Columbia, we have been fortunate that the public health measures have kept the number of infections much lower compared to other places in Canada and elsewhere. While we still need to be cautious, for now our curve has been “flattened”.

British Columbia has announced plans to reduce some restrictions throughout this summer. However, this is not yet a return to normal. Until there is a widely-available vaccine or widespread immunity, many restrictions, including physical distancing, will need to remain for many months ahead. This is to ensure that cases of COVID-19 do not suddenly begin to rise again and overwhelm our hospitals. For now, people in BC need to continue to do our part by staying close to home, avoiding large gatherings of people (especially indoors), and paying attention to our hygiene and cold/flu symptoms.

Here on campus at Bodwell, with the support of our Live-in Boarding Team, we continue to live in a strict isolation model in order to keep safe the boarding students who could not return home. As some restrictions slowly reduce in the community, for safety we will continue to maintain an isolated campus going forward as much as it is reasonable to do, and at the same time we are planning to find more ways for students and staff to safely enjoy some summer time together out in the community, and to gradually find ways for more staff to work together here with students on campus. We have also been preparing additional steps here on campus in the unlikely event that cases of virus should appear despite our prevention measures. This includes holding “room isolation drills” for boarding students, and preparing “room isolation kits”, as well as ensuring there are reliable ways for staff to communicate with students if they need to be in their rooms during an actual health emergency. These steps will help us practice and prepare our campus for a “new normal”, so we can continue to operate safely even when in-person classes eventually resume. On a more lively note, the student-run “Bodcast” has been waking us up each morning all over campus!

Meanwhile, in the North Vancouver community, our homestay and day students have been spending time at home with their local families. Many students have been helping around the house (and even earning volunteer hours), keeping fit, and practicing their English at home. We thank our homestay families for taking such good care of our students as if they were their own children. This Thursday, May 14 at 5 pm, our homestay and day students will be joining a special meeting with Mr. Nissen, Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Goobie to go over some updates and reminders.

Finally, on April 27, our entire school community came together in our first-ever online All-World All-School Assembly. Thank you to some of our Student Parliament members for sharing their messages from both Vancouver as well as from their home countries. Please check out the replay in this short version or the full version.

Please read and review the important information below, including an exciting announcement about Graduation 2020! 2020 will be a challenging year that no one will forget, but the future remains bright. We need to stay united, as one school. Students and parents, we are with you all the way.

No more than now do we need an Education for a Changing World. We are called as global citizens to be courageous, caring, patient and determined to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Bodwell students, parents and staff, we will get through this… together.



Stephen Goobie


Online Learning Updates

Key Points

  • Midterm assessments finished. Midterm report cards to be ready this week.
  • Students need to be active and follow all online learning instructions.
  • Many students are highly engaged in online learning.
  • Students need to keep on gaining their Career Exploration 30 hours.

No matter whether students are still on campus, living in the local community, or are back home in cities all over the world, they are continuing their learning. Everything about our new system can be found in the Bodwell Online Learning Handbook. You will also find it useful to view two videos  about online learning at Bodwell.

Bodwell Online Learning Handbook

Recently, online midterm assessments were held, and teachers have been busy giving students feedback, compiling grades and writing midterm report card comments. Parents can expect report cards this week.

Online learning is more challenging than in-person learning, especially when done over different time zones. However, we are pleased that many students are asking frequent questions and reaching out to teachers for one-on-one help, including quieter students who don’t normally ask for assistance. Some recommendations for students to improve:

  • Watch all teacher weekly video recordings very carefully
  • Pay careful attention to step-by-step instructions
  • Pay more attention to reading teachers’ feedback on their assignments
  • Ask questions and let your teacher know right away if you cannot meet deadlines.

Finally, students are reminded to continue focusing on earning their Career Exploration Hours (sometimes called “Volunteer Hours”). It is important not to wait too long, as 30 hours are required for graduation and offer good ways to gain valuable skills and real-world experience. There are many options that can be done from home, homestay, on campus or in one’s community while observing physical distancing. Contact Mr. Robert Sanzalone ( or on MS Teams) for more ideas and support.

Spring 2020 Term

Key Points

  • The BC Government has plans for students to gradually return to schools.
  • Online learning at Bodwell will continue throughout the Spring 2020 Term.
  • Students need to complete all their assigned work and will be graded on all work.

We thank students and parents for your patience as we continue to monitor the local and global health situation, and work with our partners in BC Public Health, the BC Ministry of Education and many other educational bodies across BC and Canada (FISA, CAIS, ISABC, BCCIE, and so on). We are frequently collaborating with other boarding schools across Canada to come up with the best approaches possible moving forward to help our students continue their path toward graduation while maintaining a safe living environment.

Below are some of our current working plans. The situation is changing each day and each week, so it is important to know that we may need to alter programs and policies according to advice from our various levels of government, but we will be sure to keep parents and students updated as soon as we can.

The BC Government has recently announced  a plan for students in the province to gradually return to school, through a five-stage process. For the time being, high school students in BC will continue remote learning (i.e. online).

Because Bodwell’s students are both here in Vancouver as well as now all over the world, online learning will continue for the remainder of the Spring 2020 Term. Regular in-person classes will not be held at this time and we will not be requiring off-campus students to return to campus during the Spring 2020 Term. Instead, from their current living location, students should put their complete effort into online learning for all of May and June. Do keep in mind that a final grade will be given based on course work completed over the entire term – so students need to do their very best to achieve a positive result and receive their course credit!

Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year

Key Points

  • Bodwell intends to offer in-person learning and boarding for Fall 2020 onward.
  • Students should expect some changes on campus in 2020-2021 to ensure health and safety.

It is true that planning is made more difficult when there is a highly uncertain situation in the world. The local and global health emergency, border/immigration restrictions, flight availability and processing of study permits will all be possible challenges in the months ahead.

As a deeply-committed school nearing its 30th year of operation, Bodwell High School is firmly resolved to overcome all challenges and to continue educating students from around the world in-person here in Vancouver in a way that is safe, engaging and meeting the unique needs of our valued students and parents. Likewise, we recently hear from many parents of the eager wish to return their children to learning and living at Bodwell as soon as it is possible to do so. We are happy to hear this!

When students do return to studying and living on campus with their teachers, counsellors and advisors, bear in mind that we will need to change some aspects of everyday campus life. The campus may look different in some ways, and students and staff will need to follow special steps to ensure we keep each other safe and healthy. This will include new arrival procedures from August to ensure that students are not carrying COVID-19. Likewise, we will need to be very creative with our campus life and scheduling, school and boarding activities, and community involvement.

Summer Learning at Bodwell

Key Points

  • Online courses will be offered in July.
  • In-person courses will be offered in August.
  • Students arriving from out of province will need to follow a 2-week quarantine organized by school.
  • Tuition for July & August will be reduced to assist parents during this difficult time.

Time for learning is precious, and should not be wasted, especially if students need to be staying at home or on campus over the summer months. It is important for students to make good use of this time by enhancing core academic learning and accelerating progress in language development.

We have designed complementary academic credit courses for both July and August. We understand many families around the world have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. To support our families’ finances during these difficult COVID-19 circumstances, the school has decided that tuition for July and August will be reduced. Our registration officers will send detailed fee information to individual students. Your child’s counsellor will follow up details of course selection and graduation planning very soon.

While we await the ability of teachers to return to campus, July courses will be offered fully online. We expect these courses to maximize the power of online learning and draw on teachers’ experience with technology from the Spring Term.

July & August courses (subject to registration)

AEP Cultural Literacy Intermediate (Level 3 AEP)
AEP Cultural Literacy Advanced (Level 4 AEP)

ELA 10: Creative Writing & Literary Studies 10 (Spring 2020 Grade 9 students not allowed)
ELA 10: Composition & New Media 10 (For Spring 2020 Grade 9 students)
Math 10
Pre-Calculus 11
PHE 10
Arts 11/12
Environmental Science 11

The following 4 courses will start in July and end at the end of August:

  • English 8
  • English 9
  • Science 8
  • Science 9

We are also planning to offer special academic courses in August this year, to strengthen student learning after the COVID-19 pandemic interruption. We aim for in-class learning to happen in August as much as possible. At the same time, we are developing special August arrival procedures, which (if a student is arriving from out-of-province/country) will include a mandatory 2-week health quarantine upon arrival to Vancouver, arranged by the school before a student can rejoin our regular boarding population. Students will make use of online learning during this important quarantine period and transition into their in-person classes.

Students who Cannot Go Home

Key Points

  • Students who cannot go home from campus will be taken care of throughout the summer.
  • These students are expected to partake in academic learning and boarding programming.

While many of our students are living off-campus or back home with their families, we continue to have close to 120 students remain living in boarding. We know that it is very difficult to return home for these students due to travel and border restrictions. Parents can be reassured that we will take care of students who cannot return home throughout the summer as needed and will see them through to their September plans either to return to studies at Bodwell and onward to university.

Parents are asked to keep counsellors updated on their home situations and any special family planning for this summer. For students that do stay on campus,
we need everyone to participate in all academic learning opportunities as well as in boarding programming. Additionally, it is essential that all boarding students continue to follow our special safety procedures and all school rules to keep the campus safe and healthy.

Important Dates & Graduation 2020

May 14 at 5pm Day/Homestay Student Meeting
Week of May 19 Course Selection
June 12 at 7pm Graduation Ceremony 2020
June 25-30 Final Assessments
June 26 Colours Online Assembly
July 6 July courses begin
July 31 July courses end
August Information on course schedule and special arrival procedures to come soon
September 8 Fall 2020 classes begin

This year is quite unique for all of you graduates and we want to celebrate your accomplishments and your graduation for high school in a special way. You have worked so hard to achieve this! Please see the announcement here and stay tuned for more details.


Exciting news about a once-in-a-lifetime unique event!


Friday, 12th, 2020 at 7 pm Vancouver local time

Join us to celebrate all of our amazing 217 graduates of 2020!

Featuring special guest Mr. Jeff Liao, New York-based fine art photographer and Bodwell alumni  (Grad 1997)

Broadcasted live to all students, parents, staff and guests. An online link to come. If you unable to join, you will be sent the video ceremony to join later.

Some grad decorations going up around campus
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