Pivoting to Phase II

As little as a month ago it would have been difficult to envision our current reality. We continue to pray that with all of us being extra vigilant in self-isolating and physical distancing, we will find ourselves one month forward having slowed the spread of COVID-19. As I commented in a recent radio interview, how glorious will be that day when are schools are once again opened and we are able to be together “in person’ as community.


I wish to thank all our teachers and staff who reached out this past week to re-connect with families. Today, we transition to remote teacher-led learning. Thank you to our Senior Team, their departments and all our principals and vice-principals for their work behind the scenes necessary to make this possible. We thank our Union partners for their continued work with us, doing all we can to support student learning and wellbeing. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank our Ministry of Education, for all the support they have and continue to provide us during this unprecedented time.


In the business world a ‘pivot’ is described as a ‘substantial change to one or more components of your business model’. I can’t imagine a more ‘substantial change’ to learning in our province and in our board than the pivot we are currently executing as we transition from ‘face to face’ classroom learning to ‘learning at a distance’.


Today as we launch PHASE II, we know that everything will not be perfect and that’s OK. With each passing day we will continue to refine and together we know WE GOT THIS!! We are so very blessed to have a community of educators, professional and support staff unequivocally committed to continuing the learning for our students.


Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York, an area heavy hit by COVID-19, in a reflection shared “Palm Sunday matters more than ever in the age of coronavirus”.


“People have commented to me, ‘It’s sad that your celebrations of Holy Week have been ruined by this awful coronavirus.’ My rabbi friends tell me they’re hearing the same thing. “How disappointing that Passover will be so dreary this year.”


While I appreciate those sentiments, I beg to differ! In reality . . . the present crisis, with sickness, fear, isolation and death as its signature, actually heightens the significance of the message these holy days bring.


Christians reverently recall the ‘passover’ of Jesus from torture, rejection, defection of His closest followers, temptation to despair, His Passion and death that first Good Friday, to life, light, and victory on Easter Sunday.


. . . we, too, as a planet, a country, a state and especially for us as a city, are ‘passing over’ from contagion, fear, infection, isolation and suffering, to unity, healing, recovery and a renewed life.


As we trust that the dreariness, morbidity, and chill of Winter ‘passes over’ annually into the light, life and hope of Spring, so this week do millions of Jews and Christians recall the awe that our God is Lord of life and death, and can bring good out of evil, healing from illness, life from death.”


As we commemorate Holy Week and celebrate Easter, in rather non-traditional ways this year, our diocese has provided many resources to assist families in connecting to the rich and powerful liturgies of our Catholic faith.


I leave you with an inspiring and heartfelt message from Bishop Fabbro to the faithful of the London Diocese as we conclude this season of Lent.