Many of our senior secondary students have been working at an impressive pace to balance their academic responsibilities and multiple off-site learning classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their heavy academic schedules and daily, on-screen Zoom class meetings (up to 5.5 hours a day), necessitates a period of rest for students to continue functioning at their best.
Different students have different capacities, challenges, and home supports. In addition to juggling the demands that come with high academic expectations and preparations for university, many senior students are also helping with childcare, assisting with household responsibilities, and providing technical support for their younger siblings.
We are grateful for the feedback from our families. This is a learning process for our students and our staff. We recognize that academic performance and student well-being are inextricably tied. As Christian educators, we are committed to providing rich learning experiences while mentoring young men and women of Christ as whole persons. We are preparing students for a life of transformation and service beyond their school years. The emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health of our students remains a high priority. We’re listening. We care. We adjust.
For the remaining weeks of school, we are introducing “Wellness Wednesdays” for senior secondary students. On Wednesdays, our senior teachers will reduce screen-time commitments and shift some of the focus to student well-being and community building. Each week, our teachers will work hard to provide activities that nurture whole-person development and resilience. Students will be encouraged to intentionally exercise, recharge, reflect, get outside, invest in healthy relationships, and spend time with God.
For example, we’re offering a virtual “Coffee House” for students to connect with one another at 10:30 am, hosted by Mr. Christian Loro (our P.E. department head) and Mrs. Trish Joyce (our ESS coordinator). Clubs are being phased back in at 11 am on Wednesdays. We are also creating a “Wellness Corner,” accessible via our Hallways websites, where the school counselling team will post mental health resources and wellness activities for students. This will include a self referral link for students who wish to access counselling services. We believe this change of pace and refocusing on well-being, mid-week, will help our senior students sustain their hard work on academics, and support their success in this new learning environment.
The John Knox Senior Secondary Teaching Team and Administration