So – it’s week 4 of the COVID – 19 Crisis in BC, and school has been in session here for 2 weeks. Educators in our Province have been doing their best to provide some semblance of normality for their students and families, despite the circumstances (see below for more info).
As parents – I think Michelle and I tried and do the same thing in the beginning. For the first week “back at school”, we tried our best to give the kids a “school schedule”. We tried to wake up, eat breakfast, do work, give breaks – just as if our kids were at school. In fact, some of the recommendations of experts out there was to follow this process: to give kids as “normal” a situation as possible – but at home.
After a few days, however, and contemplating what we were actually trying to do – I decided that what we think as “normal” probably doesn’t exist anymore. Even in BC where we seem to be doing better than many areas in Canada... (see this article for why: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-ontario-quebec-covid-19-1.5524056) ...I have come to realize several things for during and post crisis:
Wearing masks may become a regular thing – even if the masks do look super cool it’s still weird to me.
It’s SUPER HARD to try and get work done from home during a crisis….because everyone else is also at home.
Social distancing may keep happening, especially during any sort of flu/ cold season.
More people may choose to complete elements of schooling at home in the future.
Universities may have to rethink the notion of entrance requirements.
Sadly, some businesses we are used to frequenting won’t be there anymore.
Travel precautions will look SUPER different – much like after 911.
Our perspective on WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT important will shift and what we complain about will definitely change.
Community and human connection – even for introverts – is needed and important.
This list is obviously not exhaustive – there are definitely so many more.
The point is this: I don’t actually think it’s necessary to try and keep framing our own kids’ lives as if everything is the same and will return to being the same. The reality is that it will not.
In order to truly make this time of social distancing and quasi family based isolation meaningful and edifying, I think it’s important to:
Recognize what each individual member of your family needs to do to make it through each day, each week, and possibly, each month – and go with the flow. If your kids aren’t feeing school that day, don’t worry about it. If your partner wants to order out…order out.
Tell the kids that this is going to be for a while, to do the best they can, to live each day to the fullest, and that you will be there for them. Kids aren’t stupid. They know that things are different: acknowledge that, feed them information, help them understand the new reality, and definitely discuss the future.
Value educational experiences: it’s also possible to go completely the other way and just let the kid’s do – whatever. No – school districts and other governmental community organizations have provided a plethora of resources for parents and teachers use to work with students/ kids. Take advantage of all of it.
Take care of yourself. An example one of my district counsellors likes to give is that – in an airplane – when the oxygen masks come down, you’re supposed to put your own on first – then put on the mask for those around you. You can’t help others if you can’t breathe. Make sure you take care of yourself.
Finally, let me say how proud I am – as Educator living and working in Metro-Vancouver – of the response from Metro-Vancouver School Districts to the COVID-19 Crisis. Everyone is working extremely hard to keep the Continuity of Education happening for our students. I haven’t had time to research all of British Columbia’s School Districts – but I expect that the response is more of the same: a student centred approach to helping students and families through this crisis. Well done everyone!
Metro Vancouver School District’s Response to COVID-19
Surrey Schools Continuity of Education Site
Vancouver School District Continuity of Education Site
Burnaby School District Continuity of Education Site
Langley School District Continuity of Education Site
North Vancouver Continuity of Education Site
West Vancouver Continuity of Education Site
Richmond School District Continuity of Education Site
Coquitlam School District’s Response to COVID-19
Delta School District’s Response to COVID-19
New Westminster School District’s Response to COVID-19
Until next time.
Thank you to our frontlines and essential service workers!
Stay safe and stay home.