Update from Head of School re: COVID-19 response

Update from Head of School re: COVID-19 response

March 19, 2020

Dear Ashbury Students and Parents, Chers élèves et parents,  

I hope you and your families are well at this tumultuous time. At Ashbury, we continue to respond and prepare for this ever-changing situation. Beyond the global health crisis, many students, parents and teachers share concern for how teaching and learning will continue and what this all means for credit completion and graduation. Although we are preparing a return to campus on April 6, we are also readying for a longer closure given how quickly things are changing. We remain committed to ensuring ongoing learning via distance starting next week and we will advance at a measured pace in our implementation.

Distance Learning beginning Tuesday, March 24

On Monday, March 23, we will hold virtual staff meetings as teachers continue to prepare their lessons for online delivery. Students will be receiving more specific details from the Heads of both Junior and Senior School and will need high speed internet access and a computer with access to the school’s online course management system Edsby. Within Edsby teachers can link out to various tasks, apps and assignments and the baseline video-conferencing system will be Microsoft Teams. Distance learning will begin on Tuesday, March 24 and will follow a daily schedule similar to typical school day. We are aiming for flexibility in delivery for students and/or teachers who may be in different time zones and for those or whose personal circumstances do not allow them to check-in at scheduled class times. Course delivery methods may look different for each grade and course level, but we will endeavor to keep things simple as we start this transition so please be patient with us as things develop. Lessons may be task-oriented or interactive and we want to make sure students balance screen time with other activities, including going outdoors where possible.

Continued credit completion an IB examinations

We will continue to support students toward credit completion through distance learning and are working to ensure graduating students can graduate as expected. Any new directives we receive from the Ontario Ministry of Education, university admission departments or the International Baccalaureate Organization will be communicated to you as soon as possible. 

For IB students, particularly Grade 12s, the situation will evolve and today’s notice on the IB website has indicated that the IB will make an announcement by March 27 about IB Diploma examinations and completion. 

Campus closed and calendar of events

As the campus is closed for access at this time, many students may not have their books and notes available to them. I know this is not ideal, but teachers will consider this in their planning and use online resources where possible. Please do not ask if students to come to campus for their books, unless there are directives otherwise.

Assume events on campus or school excursions are cancelled until further notice, or at least until we return to normal campus operations. We will be aiming to schedule check-ins with our Form Room and TAG groups to continue to build the rapport, support and sense of community that is so appreciated by our students. Our priorities are students’ health and well-being and their continued academic support.  

International and boarding students who remain in Canada

Many of our international and boarding families have been faced with very difficult choices: to leave their children in Canada and wait for the situation to stabilize, or return home and possibly face new uncertainties and quarantine requirements. We are continuing to support these students on an individual basis and ask if any day families can house an international students in their home as individual circumstances continue to change. Please contact Padme Raina for any international student questions, or if you are able to host.

Points of contact

A number of points of contact are available if you have specific questions so please reach out as needed:

Junior School Distance Learning:  kendal.young@ashbury.ca
Senior School Distance Learning: gary.godkin@ashbury.ca
International Students – travel and accommodation: padme.raina@ashbury.ca
Student Services and Wellness:   anjelien.slater@ashbury.ca
IT or Technical Assistance:  helpdesk@ashbury.ca
General inquires:  covid19@ashbury.ca

As I have indicated in previous messages, please be ready for changes to plans at any moment due to ongoing developments and government directives. Your flexibility and collaboration is appreciated during this fluid situation. As always, please remain aware of COVID-19 prevention, self-isolation and social distancing measures updated regularly by Ottawa Public Health. I know that this a time of significant uncertainty, but as a community we can all do our part in flattening the COVID-19 curve, caring for each other and continuing to teach and learn as best we can.    

Probitas, Virtus, Comitas,

Norman Southward
Head of School – Directeur

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