Post Lock-Down and Pre Vaccine – RDS Community 

Written by: James Lee – Head of School

As an educational institution, what will our school, our learning spaces, class sizes and programming look like “Post Lock-Down and Pre Vaccine Period?” On April 27th, 2020, the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce made an announcement to extend the closure date for publicly funded schools to May 31st. On the next day, the Premier of Ontario announced a plan, but with no dates, to re-open the economy and gradually remove the lockdown of non-essential businesses and facilities. There is no doubt that discussions will eventually transition towards the possibility of re-opening of schools. Schools across North America are investigating and observing various models that exists currently in Europe and Asia during their respective post lockdown period with teachers and students returning to school. There is no doubt, that the anticipation may lead to early apprehension and questions of whether it is too premature to return life back to normal, or alternatively, it has been long overdue. Regardless, we will need to adapt to new regulations and measures to ensure the health and safety of all members of our community.
I find that in times of difficulty, stress, challenges and change within our lives, we have a tendency to learn more about ourselves and discover or re-enforce emotions, feelings and behaviour choices that begin to outline a particular pattern, skill or characteristic whether you are a parent, teacher, adult or student. I had an opportunity this morning to address our student body in our first, and historical school wide virtual assembly on ZOOM. It was quite an emotional and uplifting sight to see all of the smiling faces greeting each other at the beginning and releasing a sigh of relief to know that we are together as a school community once again, but virtual, instead of in-person. I finished off my morning address to the community by making three requests:
  1. Continue to learn and develop through our Remote Learning Program and put forth your best effort during these extraordinary times. Hundreds of countries and thousands of students are in similar situations, where self-isolation and physical distancing have been instituted by health and government officials leading to remote learning programs for schools. COVID-19 will not last forever but the education you build and develop will remain with you for the rest of your life.
  2. Continue to be Kind, Patient and Considerate during these difficult times. Whether it is towards your brother or sister, mother or father, friend or family. We will all get through this. People forget what you say over time, but they never ever forget, how you made them feel.
  3. Continue to focus and use the RDS core values as a guide throughout this unique time: RESPECT, DILIGENCE, INTEGRITY AND INVOLVEMENT.
One of the many highlights of our first virtual student assembly involved the presence of our wonderful and beloved RDS alumni. It was nice to re-connect with a number of our proud RDS alumni and graduates who took the time to create and send video messages to our school community, wishing everyone well and to stay safe and strong together throughout these moments. This is just one example of the caring nature of our school, our extended & connected community of proud alumni, and their thoughtfulness to reach out to current RDS students and families during this difficult period. As we continue to plan for the “post lockdown and pre vaccine period,” there is no doubt that our community will continue to strengthen from this experience and continue to find ways to adapt, adjust and transition during these extraordinary times as a school.