As schools across the country begin to reopen their classrooms, and most elementary and post-secondary students in Toronto are set to return on September 15th, one thing remains at the forefront of our minds here at Juno: the safety of our students.
When COVID-19 arrived in March, and schools began to close, Juno did too. We took our cue from the Toronto District School Board and within 48 hours we were up and running with online classes - our first ever. I still remember gathering our Leadership Team together at our downtown Toronto office late in the day on March 12 when we received the news. Students were already arriving for that evening’s in-person classes, and we knew they would be our last for a while.
Luckily, we had been preparing for that moment. We had known for weeks that something like this was coming and had been working on a plan. We assembled our team, gathered our tools, contacted our students and our instructors, and got to work.
I’m not going to pretend that those first classes were perfect, but our students and our instructors were incredibly flexible and positive about the experience, and we couldn’t be more thankful to them. We quickly discovered that we love Live Online, and decided it would remain a permanent part of our offerings at Juno.
Since then we’ve been working tirelessly to perfect our process, constantly iterating and improving to ensure our online courses are the best they can be, and that they measure up to the awesome learning experience that has always been at the core of Juno. Today, Live Online is not just good, it’s great. Five-star reviews flood in after every course, our students are graduating excited about their new skills and eager to continue learning, and best of all - the Juno community has been able to extend further than ever before. Our classes are now available to students who wouldn’t have had the opportunity to join us on campus, whether it was distance, accessibility, scheduling, or all of the above holding them back.
What we didn’t know when this first started was how long this would last, and we still don’t. We know that we do want to re-open our classrooms as soon as possible - while also keeping everyone as safe as possible. We understand that online learning isn’t for everyone, and we have a list of students who are eager and waiting to join us in-person when possible. But that time hasn’t come yet.
So you might be asking yourself - if schools are opening again, why isn’t Juno? The short answer is - we’re taking a wait and see approach. It’s clear to us that there is a lot to be learned about what students, staff, and families need when returning to school and how it can be done safely. We’re hoping that by waiting a little longer and keeping a close eye on schools as they reopen, we can learn a lot. We want to ensure that no matter what, when our students and staff do eventually return to our campus, they feel as safe and secure as possible, and they aren’t facing the uncertainty that many people are with the thought of going back to school in a few weeks.
Unfortunately, this means that we can’t share a timeline or a reopening date. Nothing is set in stone. In fact, if we’re honest with ourselves, and with you, we do not expect to reopen our campus in 2020.
So while we do this, while we wait and see, we ask that you bear with us. If you’re eager to start learning before then, we encourage you to join us online and to speak with a Student Success Consultant about your options. Like I mentioned, our Live Online classes are getting great reviews. The same awesome learning experience and great community-oriented environment that Juno has always been known for has moved online - just with a shorter commute! We love Live Online and we know you will too.
Something to look forward to is that when we eventually do reopen, you can expect to see a newly renovated campus. We started planning for this renovation when we rebranded from HackerYou to Juno in late 2019, and renovations are nearly complete! Our new space features all-gender single-stall washroom facilities, including one fully accessible washroom with a baby changing station, modernized kitchens and classrooms, warm community lounges and work spaces, and updated tech. When the time is right, even if that’s far in the future, we’ll be hosting an open house to celebrate, and we hope you’ll join us.
In the meantime, you can sign up to be the first to know when in-person classes resume here. You can also follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to follow along with exciting things like our renovations, Live Online classes, student experience, and more. Our community is amazing - and luckily, these days, you don’t have to leave home to join us!