A Big Wrinkle
In March 2020, a big wrinkle impacted the learning of our students - world-wide. Covid-19. As of March 13, 2020, the narrative for all of our stories ended up "on the cutting room floor". At school instruction ceased for all of our students and, while better now, it remains altered in this "post-Covid" reality. It was impossible for us to make any significant progress on our school goal / school story. Our urgent attention moved to keeping our students and each other safe. This will continue to be the focus until we are able to find a cure, or vaccine for this virus. I think it is important for us to document our experience , as what I will write HAS been our school story for the last three months.
As a school, we saw our children leave at Spring Break and with a small exception, have not seen any of them since. As educators and caregivers, it was emotionally difficult for us not to be able to continue the important work we do each and every day. Our careers are largely based on relationships - with each other, with parents and especially with our students. We recognize that for many of our students the feeling is mutual and for some, vital.
Despite a wide range of comfort and ability levels, our teachers sprang into action and began working alongside parents to delivery online learning to our students. We began the process of identifying our vulnerable students / families and assisted in helping to support them throughout the spring, as many parents found themselves unexpectedly out of work.
In June, we opened our school to students whose parents were identified as being "front line workers" in an effort to allow these parents to work. We also welcomed in some of our children who needed the structure and support of being at school.
The natural rhythm of our school year was disrupted to the point where many days just "blurred" into the next. All of the usual events (eg. track and field, Sports Day, etc.) were cancelled. Units of study that we typically do in the spring (eg. butterflies) also did not occur. To the credit of our staff and our community, we did manage to hold a "Drive-Thru Welcome to Kindergarten" event and a "Drive-Thru Grade 7 Farewell" event.
As we look forward to the upcoming school year, we are hopeful that we will get back to a more "normal" pattern, or perhaps a "better, new normal", where we take more time to pause and appreciate the little things that we did not realize that we took for granted, prior to all of this happening.