Posted on October 28, 2020, by , in COVID-19, Featured, with No Comments

School Newsletter

October 2020

Dear Bodwell students and Parents,


  • Bodwell is now approved by the Canadian government to accept international students travelling into Canada, despite border restrictions.
  • Our school programming is continuing through creative approaches and students are continuing to study hard.

Message from the Principal

I hope you are doing well and staying safe as we approach the end of October and the middle of the Fall 2020 Semester.  I’m pleased to let you know that the school year—although unusual—is going smoothly and students are studying very hard, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting many of our communities worldwide.

We are a smaller school this year, but we are thankful that many returning students have been able to return here to continue their academic study this year.  Thanks to all of the safety preparations by schools such as Bodwell, including our special quarantine procedures, the Canadian government has begun to allow more international students to arrive to Canada, and we are now able to announce that “Bodwell High School is a British Columbia provincially approved designated learning institute (DLI) to accept international students” in spite of the border restrictions.  We look forward to welcoming back more returning students as well as new students as soon as possible to benefit from learning and living in-person at Bodwell.

The pandemic has inspired us to find new and innovative ways to do all of the special things that Bodwell students have come to love and benefit from:

  • Our classes make use of online learning tools, allowing some students to join on a livestream from our Learning Centre.
  • Our new G-Block has offered students extensive academic support
  • Our new G-Block has offered students extensive academic support
  • Boarding activities have emphasized small group gatherings and outdoor recreation
  • All-school events such as assemblies have been run online, while we are planning for physically-distanced Halloween festivities.
  • Meanwhile, our Saturday Enrichment Program this year has allowed students in smaller classes to have a break from their computer work and to focus on hands-on engagement.

Parents are encouraged to regularly check the MyBodwell App for the latest updates on their child’s studies and engagement as well as for weekly video messages from administrators and other staff.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to keep parents up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments here in British Columbia as well as more information on our ongoing efforts to help students improve their academic English in preparation for university studies.

With care,


Stephen Goobie


Key Points

  • The second wave is here: cases of COVID-19 in some parts of Canada have been rising. In British Columbia, we have seen an increase in recent weeks.
  • So far, no Bodwell student has tested positive for COVID-19. About 10% of students have gone for testing.
  • Students and teachers are now asked to wear masks in all indoor classes.
  • Following the latest science, we are increasing access to fresh outside air in the building. Student need to dress more warmly.
  • If a positive virus case occurs, students will temporarily return to their rooms and learn online until contact tracing is complete.

Please see here for a video presentation on the latest research and safety measures for COVID-19, shared with students and staff.

As you may know, certain regions in Canada are having higher case counts of COVID-19 lately, and while British Columbia is not as severe as some other provinces, we have been told that we are now in our “second wave”.  Some additional restrictions in the community are being implemented, such as further limits on social gatherings.  We’ve been tracking virus exposures at schools around our province and in the Vancouver area, with some school districts affected more than others.  Several local schools in North Vancouver, both public and private, have had exposures and some individuals or groups of students at these schools sent to isolate at home.

Here at Bodwell, with our robust safety plan in place, we’ve gone through the first 8 weeks of school without any positive cases in our student population, including all those students who went through quarantine after arriving from overseas.  As a precaution, we have sent any students with new persistent cold symptoms for COVID-19 testing and all have come back negative.  This is about 10% of the student population so far.  Staff have also been very careful and have worked from home whenever any symptoms occur.  It seems our many safety measures have been working and I’m thankful to students for cooperating – although some students need frequent reminders!

We have also been reviewing the latest scientific research on COVID-19 spread through airborne aerosols and “superspreader” events, so we are updating our safety measures according to this research.  Students and teachers are asked to wear masks throughout all indoor classes.  Additionally, we are increasing ventilation and fresh air flow to the building and all communal spaces.  Given the colder weather, it will mean students will need to dress more warmly, but we feel this is necessary for safety reasons.  Other previous safety measures will remain unchanged.

What would happen in the unlikely situation that a positive case of COVID-19 should occur in our school community?  Out of an abundance of caution, in this scenario we plan to ask all Bodwell students to temporarily return to their boarding rooms (or homestay/homes) and join their classes live-streamed online until thorough contact tracing has been completed.  Staff will remain on hand to tend to all student needs.  Then, with the help of Public Health Officers, those student groups who have had no exposure risk will be released and may once again attend their in-person classes, while others will continue to self-isolate until the risk has subsided.  Students have practiced this procedure and we feel confident this will keep all groups as safe as possible.  We will keep parents well-advised if this situation occurs.  The flexibility of our “in-person online learning” mode of teaching will help prevent any interruption of classes.

In addition to this research, for your reference you may also find the following BC Provincial COVID-19 documents useful, as they have informed Bodwell’s safety plans.  Together, we will get through this!

University Guidance

Key Points

  • Good news! Many graduates from the Bodwell Class of 2020 have been accepted to the top Canadian and worldwide post-secondary institutions.
  • Bodwell students in the Class of 2021 have been attending university virtual fairs and information sessions to know more about admissions.

We are happy to announce that the Graduating Class of 2020 had much success in achieving their goals of entering university.  There were 540 acceptances received by 177 graduates of the Class of 2020, an average of about 3 acceptances per graduate.

480 acceptances from 41 universities/colleges in Canada including:

Additionally, Bodwell students were accepted to Simon Fraser University, University of Waterloo, McGill University, Dalhousie University, and many other top institutions in Canada.

Outside of Canada, students were accepted into many other excellent institutions in the USA, Australia, UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and worldwide, including:

Congratulations to our graduates and good luck in your university studies!

In Fall 2020, senior students will have the opportunity to join virtual presentations by many university admissions officers from Canada and around the world.  The Canadian University Event, held online in early October, introduced students to a wide variety of Canadian post-secondary programs.  Upcoming university virtual visits include representatives from:

Our own University Guidance Team has also been holding university admissions presentations for students interested in various fields of study including engineering, medicine, science, business and humanities.  Students can find many layers of support toward a strong university application from the counsellors and Career-Life teachers.

Co-Curricular Learning

Key Points

  • All students have the benefit of taking both G-Block and S-Block classes outside of their Academic Classes.
  • These classes offer students extensive academic support and active learning opportunities.

Outside of Academic Classes, from Monday to Friday students are engaged in 6 hours of “Co-Curricular Learning” per week.  “Co-Curricular” refers to programming which reinforces and supports students curricular learning in the classroom.  It is divided into two areas:  G-Block and S-Block.

G-Block is a new structure this term and occurs after school from Monday to Thursday.  Students take four 45 minute sessions with Bodwell teachers and advisors, focusing on academic support, English language development and active learning.  Find out more about G-Block here.  Students are finding their new G-Block sessions very useful and engaging so far, and we look forward to continue to expand and refine this program.

S-Block occurs on Saturday morning and refers to our unique Saturday Enrichment Program.  Students take two 90 minute hands-on classes each week with professionals and industry experts from the local community.  These instructors are very careful to follow the same COVID-19 safety precautions as our regular Bodwell staff.  Students choose from a wide array of course topics in areas such as:

  • English language enrichment
  • Service and global citizenship
  • Outdoor education and athletic enhancement
  • New media and performing arts
  • Career exposure.

Stay tuned for more updates and highlights from our Co-Curricular Learning program.

English Language Development

Key Ideas

  • Students will write an in-house English Progress Assessment (EPA) in November.
  • The result of the EPA will play an important factor in students’ course selection in Spring 2021.
  • Students will also be able to write the official IELTS Exam at Bodwell later this term.

At Bodwell, we believe it is important to carefully place students in Academic Classes and in the Co-Curricular Learning programs that are appropriate to the students’ level of academic English.  This is so that students are adequately challenged and are receiving the targeted support needed for their specific language level.

On Tuesday, November 17, all AEP Level 4 and grades 8-12 students will write the English Progress Assessment. It is absolutely vital that all students do their best on this assessment. The assessment is based on the IELTS exam, which is needed to enter University, and has three sections: Reading, Writing and Listening.  It is designed to test a student’s academic English, so students must use formal and academic language.  Informal English will not benefit a student’s mark.  It is also important to know that most universities in Canada now require a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 to gain admission, so we need our students to be well-prepared!

For this assessment, it is absolutely necessary that all student do their best on the assessment. The results of the assessment will be used for course selection for both Academic Classes and Co-Curricular Learning in Spring 2020 – meaning that students will “unlock” G-Block and S-Block options through achieving high results on the EPA!

Please note:

  1. Students who average over 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 will be exempted from taking an English for Post-Secondary (EPS) G-Block class.
  2. Students who do not score over 6.5, even if English is their first language, will be assigned an English for Post-Secondary (EPS) G-Block class.
  3. Students will be assigned to Composition 10, 11, and 12 classes based on their English Progress Assessment results.

Students are receiving thorough support from their teachers and helpful peer tutoring in order to further strengthen their academic English in preparation for the EPA.

Later this term, Bodwell will be hosting three official IELTS Exam sessions on campus for all students intending to graduate in 2021.  We need students to do their very best toward gaining a 6.5!  Go Bodwell!

Winter Break

Key Points

  • Runs December 19-January 3
  • No overseas travel or early departures for AWP please
  • Engaging break programming offered for boarding students.

Winter Break runs from December 19 to January 3.  Due to COVID-19 safety needs, students should not travel back to their home countries.  Likely, a quarantine requirement will still be in place at this time, and it is difficult for Bodwell to guarantee quarantine space in our boarding facilities.  Any students who do return from overseas due to emergency need will be required to pay a quarantine fee and should confirm these plans as soon as possible.

We know that it isn’t easy for students to be away from their family for a long stretch of time, and it is similarly difficult for parents and siblings.  We plan to have engaging and enjoyable programming for all boarding students here on campus throughout the break, and will expect students to join in the festive fun together.

For students wishing to stay off-campus during the break, the deadline for Away-With-Permission (AWP) applications is November 13.  It is extremely important that students observe the highest level of safety measures during this time, as we need them to come back to boarding without the risk of bringing COVID-19 into our community.

  1. Students may only take an AWP during the following entire timeframes:
    • Full break (Dec. 19th – Jan. 3rd)
    • First Half (Dec. 19th – Dec. 27th)
    • Second Half (Dec. 24th – Jan. 3rd)
  2. Students will only be approved to take an AWP with:
    • Parents
    • Direct family members who are age 25+ (aunt, uncle, sibling, grandparent)
  3. Students on or off-campus should not come into contact with anyone who has recently travelled to Canada unless they have already completed 14-day quarantine.

If you have any questions, please connect with your child’s counsellor.

We hope to keep a very lively, healthy and happy school community through the Winter Break and beyond!  Thank you for your help and cooperation during this unusual and challenging year.

November 3-4 Numeracy Assessment
November 5, 9, 10 Midterm Exams
November 11 Remembrance Day Holiday
November 17 School-wide English Progress Assessment
December 19 Winter Break begins – no overseas travel, no AWP departures prior to this date
January 4 Fall 2020 classes resume
February 2-3 Fall 2020 Final Exams
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