Describing COVID-19 in the Past Tense

Last week we celebrated Catholic Education Week from a distance. Through email and social media were shared many creative and innovative ways in which our staff, students and families celebrated learning and provided witness to this year’s theme Igniting Hope. Thank you to everyone for your participation and your sharing. It was great to hear and see so many of you. On Wednesday we came together as one, virtually, for our Catholic Education Week Mass 2020. Joining Bishop Dabrowski in person (and two metres apart) was Principal Claudia Speiran. We thank Bishop Dabrowski, Principal Speiran and the team who made possible this celebration of our faith: Kelly Authier, Clare Bondy, Dorothy de Bakker, Father Patrick Beneteau, Joe Bezzina, Luc Chartrand, Dennis Gray, Father John Jasica, Jackie Leardi, Father Eugene Roy and Katie Seim.
Today two surveys will be sent out, one to directed to staff and the other to students/families. As has been described by our Deputy Minister of Education we (as a province and as a board) are participating in “one grand experiment of learning from a distance’. Amid the reality of school closure, there have been struggles and more than a few hurdles to navigate. But in navigating this learning journey from a distance, there have also been in the words of Olympian Adam van Koeverden, many “gifts wrapped in ugly brown paper without a ribbon”.
We have had to be creative amidst the crisis of COVID-19, we have been required to change, to find new ways to support learning for both our students and ourselves, to find new ways of interacting with our students/families and new ways of interacting as staff, small and large. During regular times new and creative innovations are optional, during these ‘not so normal of times’ these innovations are not only necessary but vital.
As a board we want to capture our “Learning from a Distance” story, the innovations, the promising practices, the challenges, the struggles and the next steps. These surveys will provide us the means in part to do so. I thank in advance our staff and families for your participation. Please know it is appreciated.
When we are finally able to describe COVID-19 in the past tense, what will be those lessons it provided?
“Not all gifts come in shiny packages, and not every accomplishment is rewarded with a medal.” Adam van Koeverden, Five Time Canoe-Kayak Canadian Olympian and Member of Parliament