Community Resilience Continues to be Tested
While I certainly appreciated the opportunity to connect safely with family and friends this summer I could not help but be concerned for the number of families impacted by wildfires, trauma within the Aboriginal community, and rising COVID-19 case numbers. The mental health of all of us continues to be under duress. When should I wear a mask? How close can I be physically to others without jeopardizing my safety? Yikes! Someone sneezed next to me! How will I know if someone is vaccinated or not? Can I really be safe in large gatherings? When can I safely travel again? So many questions! We will all need to do our best to support each other as we work through these challenges.
With respect to school start-up, I recognize that there are a myriad of different family circumstances that weigh heavily on families as we look towards school opening. Compounding anxiety many families face are the ongoing evolving protocols developed by Fraser Health and the Ministry of Education to safely transition students back to school. As a school district we are committed to following the measures set out by both agencies and communicating in a timely manner with families. I understand that the measures in place will never completely satisfy everyone in our community given so many different views and unique family dynamics. Yet, we will do our best as a system to create and maintain safe learning conditions for students and staff.
The first day of school is often filled with a combined measure of excitement and nervousness as students and staff re-connect or a student attends for the first time. On an optimistic note, at this point last year a vaccination program was not yet underway and there were far more restrictive measures in place – we are making progress and I look forward to the day when COVID is a distant memory and the world is a less scary place for our children. These times have tested the reliance of all of us and have also provided us an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in such an incredible community, not take our family and friends for granted, and re-think how we operate as a society and in my case, the school district. As I shared at my opening superintendent meeting with administrators:
“Not every storm that comes into your life is meant to take you down. Perhaps that storm is coming to clear a path that you could never have found otherwise.” (Dr. Robyn Hanley-Defoe)