Next COVID Goalpost: The May Long Weekend

As we struggled to make our way to Spring break in March, I was optimistic that we would emerge from this holiday break in a better place with respect to the pandemic. Part of this was wishful thinking, part of this was COVID fatigue, both combined with a hope that after one year we would start to emerge from the toll this virus has taken on all of us. The key word here is “hope”.  My hopes for an April decline in the virus’s impact were setback as we reached record case levels. The anxiety in the Langley School District has certainly been heightened. The tourism and restaurant sectors are just barely hanging on. Sadly, cases of intolerance towards each other have also continued to escalate. In addition, increased travel restrictions are now in place. Yet, despite these significant challenges, there is reason to remain hopeful as we move towards the May long weekend.

The recent vaccine rollout for school-based staff was welcome news for Langley, the Fraser Valley, and the Metro Vancouver region. The efforts by students, parents, and District and school-based staff to follow COVID protocols, work through COVID notifications and cases of self-isolation has been incredible. Under difficult circumstances learning continues. The work on literacy, numeracy, social/emotional learning, careers, and inclusion continues to inspire. We are also turning our minds towards a Fall that we hope is a return to a more normal state of affairs. Health and safety measures will still be front and centre, but the return of extra-curricular activities, less reliance on blended learning, a shift from cohorts, and connecting once again on a more human level will be ecstatically received.

I hope that after the May long weekend we see a significant reduction in COVID cases, a significant percentage of individuals are vaccinated, and provincial health and safety restrictions are gradually lightening up. I know parents, students, and staff would like to remain committed to doing all we can to maximize learning as we move into the Summer. I know our school communities would also like to see year end celebrations take place and include parents. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we work together to complete this year and prepare for the 2021/22 school year. While our resilience will continue to be tested in the days ahead, we cannot let it erode our hope that we can collectively overcome this crisis and take valuable lessons away from this experience.  Looking forward to a brighter Summer!

Gord Stewart