These are unprecedented and uncertain times for our students, staff, and families in Bluewater District School Board. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our schools and facilities are experiencing a shutdown period unlike any we have seen in recent memory. As Director of Education, I want to take a moment to reaffirm our board’s unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and staff, by sharing some of our current efforts as we attempt to navigate through these difficult and unique circumstances.
I recognize that the current shutdown of schools in Ontario leaves many unanswered questions regarding the interruption to student learning, and how the remainder of the school year will play out, among other important considerations. As of the moment, I am participating twice weekly in teleconferences involving Ministry of Education officials and directors from all 72 Ontario school boards. The purpose of these calls is to stay up-to-date on the current situation and explore ways in which we can work together to support student learning, strategize the return to school, plan for any potential extension of the shutdown period, consider possible alternatives to conducting board business, and discuss staff implications.
Though our Education Centre in Chesley is closed right now to all but essential services staff, my attention has been completely focused on maintaining constant daily contact with my colleagues on the senior leadership team, our trustees, and administrative staff who are working remotely to help plan our next steps and communicate them accordingly.
I remain firmly committed to promptly sharing ongoing updates with our parents/guardians, staff, families, and stakeholders as new information becomes available during this ever-evolving global situation. To that end, I encourage you to keep monitoring our COVID-19 web page, and Bluewater District School Board social media through Facebook and Twitter, for our latest postings, parent/guardian letters, our regularly revised Q and A, Grey Bruce Public Health media releases, and trusted information sources for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We also continue to share any pertinent new developments impacting our schools with local media, and directly with parents/guardians through our SchoolMessenger communication system.
While drastic times call for drastic measures, it can also be said that times like these provide opportunities for the best of humanity and the true spirit of unity to emerge. I am immensely encouraged by the heartfelt acts of caring shown by neighbours and communities to look out for and ensure the safety of one another. This extends to the various levels of government, who are putting everyday politics aside in favour of working collaboratively to serve the best interests of all Canadians. Their responsible leadership, along with the valiant efforts of our frontline health care, emergency response, and other essential services workers, give us lots to be proud of and thankful for.
Thank you as well to everyone in our local school communities for your compassion, cooperation, and responsible citizenship as we all do our part to practice social distancing, proper sanitization, and other measures as recommended by our local, provincial, and federal public health officials. Together, the resilient residents of Bruce and Grey Counties will emerge from this situation with newfound strength and wisdom.
I extend my best wishes for the health, safety, and well-being of you and your family.
Director of Education
Follow me on Twitter: @BWDSBDirector