Message from the Principal
We’ve made it to June! A few final weeks remain in this challenging Spring Term during the pandemic.
While the world continues to struggle with COVID-19 and many other issues, recently we’ve also been saddened to see unrest in our neighbouring country spurred on by ongoing examples of anti-black racism, and are reminded that the struggle for a more tolerant world free from discrimination continues everywhere. At Bodwell, our motto remains “Strength in Diversity”. Clearly, diversity is difficult, but with effort a diverse society and school are ultimately stronger and more vibrant places of mutual learning. As a multicultural school, we are a reflection of the world with all its imperfections and challenges, but we pledge to stand against racism together with those who strive for societies in which people are not treated differently based on the colour of their skin or their cultural background. In words and real action, I hope we will all unite for peace and kindness.
Here in North Vancouver and around the world, by working together over these past many months I feel proud that we as a Bodwell community have accomplished something extraordinary. Faced with a global crisis, we have been able to:
- Continue students’ learning in their academic courses toward graduation, through effective and creative delivery of online courses
- Keep students safe and healthy, and protect our boarding population despite COVID-19 affecting many other residential care institutions across Canada and around the world
- Maintain student support through our counselling and administrative teams, even across great distances
- Sustain a strong school community, despite our school population being separated
- Keep parents informed of school updates and urgent developments as the situation quickly evolves, through regular newsletters, video messages, online meetings and personal communication
- Build even stronger relationships with our school-community partners throughout BC and Canada.
From here in North Vancouver, we thank you for your cooperation, patience and support these past many months! As we prepare to end our special live-in boarding staff model next week, I’m confident that we can continue special safety measures for the months ahead as we return to school operation.
While students and teachers are focusing on finishing their courses and preparing for final assessments over the next few weeks, I am sure that many parents are eagerly looking forward to the new school year in September and wishing to confirm their child’s travel and study plans. Planning is not easy when there is uncertainty in the world, and I can understand parents’ timely questions and concerns.
I hope that this newsletter allows you to plan ahead with more certainty, to anticipate some campus changes, and to communicate your plans and preferences with the school. Please carefully review the information provided and submit your Arrival Planning Form by June 15.
In the months ahead, I look forward to welcome back many returning students, as well as welcoming new students to Bodwell High School, to continue your rich learning and living experiences, albeit with some necessary changes to keep everyone safe.
Special Arrival Procedures for Fall 2020
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 Fall 2020 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:
- Prior to the first day of fall classes on September 8, our boarding facility will be operating throughout July and August for any arriving new or returning students, as well as students who cannot go home during the summer months while studying.
- We are planning to have a number of school-arranged quarantine spaces in July and August, both onsite and offsite as needed.
- On-campus spaces for quarantine are limited and will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Students are encouraged to arrive early.
- Should on-campus spaces be full, students will be placed to a homestay family or an offsite residential facility for the quarantine.
Boarding fees during quarantine + July/August:
- To assist parents, boarding fees in July and August 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 check, supervision and meaningful activities and routines.
- Current students who are already on campus and staying through for the Fall Term will be charged 50% boarding fees for July and August. However, students who are already on campus staying in July and August but leaving Bodwell before September will not enjoy the 50% fee reduction.
- Students reporting to school later and if all options become unavailable, students will be placed to a nearby hotel for quarantine, which will be much more expensive and parents will need to be charged for the difference.
IMPORTANT: Arrival Planning:
Due to limited quarantine space, we need to work closely with parents on travel dates and times. Parents are asked to book flights only on our designated arrival dates as much as possible. Parents are asked to fill out and submit the Arrival Planning Form by June 15.
For parents applying for a quarantine exemption, please indicate your plan for the two weeks prior to your child arriving to campus. We will need evidence of flight tickets and residential status/location, showing that the student has been staying at home here in the Vancouver area for two weeks prior to arrival to campus. Students are not permitted to stay by themselves in hotels or other accommodation without family supervision. Students with quarantine exemption may come into boarding at 5 intake times: July 1-5, August 1-3, August 30-September 1, September 5-7, and September 12-14.
Life & Learning on Campus in September
A major component of this plan is promoting safe social interactions. Like schools all over the world, physical distancing and good hygiene remain two primary principles in organizing the school’s physical spaces as well as the daily routines of student movement over campus. With a smaller base of students living on campus, students and staff can expect to see physical changes at school, affecting how they move around, where they sit in their classes, where they eat meals, and so on. Among many other safety steps, a thermal camera will measure the temperatures of all students and staff passing through the school hallway to monitor for signs of fever. We do need to reduce contact time between boarding and non-boarding students, as well as to focus more on on-campus activities rather than activities out in the community. Off-campus privileges will be limited. Non-boarding students can expect less access to the campus outside of class time.
Most importantly, we will need students to fully cooperate with all safety and health precautions. To introduce students arriving back to campus to these changes, we will certainly send out a virtual tour of the campus once the remainder of these steps are all in place. Stay tuned!
Learning in the 21st Century
After many months, teachers and students look forward to returning to in-person lessons in the classroom. As much as students and teachers have accomplished rich learning through online learning, the joy of learning in-person can be much better appreciated.
There will be two major challenges to prepare for this fall. Having successfully overcome many difficulties of online learning this past term, we are confident we will have good solutions to achieve meaningful learning:
- There may be unpredictability for some flights and arrivals to Vancouver. We hope students can do their very best to arrive early before their quarantine and the start of classes, but we understand that there may be unavoidable delays. Some initial learning may need to happen via technology for the students who are delayed joining classes at the start of September.
- In order to follow public health directives about physical distancing, we may need to organize classroom learning and the daily schedule in a unique way. This may mean that students in the same course may be learning with the teacher in smaller separate groups, and sometimes using technology to independently prepare for the day’s learning or to review afterward.
We will continue to keep parents and students informed of the BC Ministry of Education’s plans and how it may affect classroom learning at Bodwell. We are also looking at new ways to provide additional academic support to all students beyond the school day. No matter what, we will do our very best to make sure all students are progressing toward graduation, improving their language skills, and preparing for university!
July & August Learning
July online courses and August in-person courses will continue as previously communicated. For those students already registered, you will receive more specific information soon to confirm your courses and learning arrangements.
Students arriving to campus before the start of the Fall Term will be expected to join boarding programming following their quarantine period. For students who are not taking August courses, they will be welcome to join special IELTS preparation training organized by the school to strengthen their English skills. Program details, including any additional fees for academic support, are being rapidly planned and will be provided soon.
Events until the End of Term
2.5 months ago, we took the step toward safeguarding our boarding population by asking 12 live-in boarding advisors to move away from their families and into the building to live with the students who were remaining on site. As outlined in the Campus Safety Plan, June 8th marks the transition to our Safety Level 3. At this time, the live-in boarding advisors will complete their mission of living onsite and will return to community. Of course, students here will continue to see them at school each day as they commute from home. I wish to give a heartfelt “thank you” to these 12 advisors who dedicated the past few months toward keeping our boarding student population safe. Like parents and homestay parents who have protected your children these past few months, these staff are among our COVID-19 heroes! School administrators and overnight emergency staff continue to live on site to provide additional support.
Gradually throughout June, students residing on campus will once again see counsellors and teachers appearing in school spaces as online learning continues. We are looking forward to seeing all staff back on campus very soon!
Understanding Safety Steps & Risk Factors
At the start of the year 2020, none of us could have imagined that this calendar year would bring such fear, challenge and change to nearly every country in the world. This pandemic has certainly caused uncertainty and worry about travel and studying away from home. We recognize that parents deeply care for their children, and wish for them to stay safe while they pursue their goals and dreams. We hear questions like “What if there is a second wave of COVID-19?” and understand the concerns.
Over the past few months, we all have gained a better understanding of this virus and how to keep safe while continuing about our lives. We are also thankful for parents’ questions about safety. It is important for you to know and understand all the measures we are putting into place to keep our students (and staff) safe and healthy. Although unlikely, if there are beginning to have more cases of COVID-19 in BC, we will follow public health directives and may put into place additional safety procedures and restrictions, however we will endeavour to keep students living on campus and learning in-person. We will continue to do our best to communicate our plans so you can plan your child’s travel and learning accordingly. You trust your children with us – and we take this responsibility very seriously. Please continue to reach out if you have questions or concerns and we will do our best to communicate as soon as possible.
We look forward to having a united school, in-person, once again!