As a school with many international students, Merrick Preparatory School has been extremely proactive in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Headmaster Kevin Farrell says that, as per government mandate, the school is closed until further notice. Prior to closing the school, all the students had already left on March break and had been placed in safe accommodations with the knowledge of their parents. When the federal government announced the likelihood of many international flights being cancelled in the coming weeks, Kevin says they urged parents to bring their children home. “We wanted students to get on a plane before they were locked in Canada,” he says.
Most students were on their way home by March 22. Those who could not return home, for financial reasons or due to risk they would get stuck in another country, have been placed in local homestays, where they will be able to practice social distancing and stay safe. “The community has come together to support our school and students,” Kevin says.
Some families came to Canada from overseas to visit their children during March break. In those cases, the school told them not to come to Merrickville and, instead, they arranged transportation for their children to meet them outside the community. “We are working very hard to make sure we are not contributing to the spread of the virus. We have done everything humanly possible to safeguard our community, staff and region.”
While the health and safety of their students and staff is their primary concern, Kevin says they are also focused on ensuring that students can continue their education. As of Monday, March 30, an online learning platform has been available to all students so they can continue their studies from anywhere in the world. “All students will be in class virtually,” Kevin says. “As far as student academics, it is business as usual.”