Education return takes on new dynamic in Powell River

School board chairperson outlines new school year

School District 47’s chairperson acknowledged that the return to school for students in the Powell River region will be different.

At the September 9 school board meeting, chairperson Aaron Reid said she normally opens the meeting acknowledging the traditional territory on which the school board is meeting.

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“Today, I not only acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional territory of, but also pass along our thoughts and wishes to our friends and neighbours of the Tla’amin Nation who are currently sheltering in place due to cases of COVID-19 in their community,” said Reid. “September is usually a time of great happiness and excitement as students, staff and families look forward to the return to school and routine in the fall. As seems to be the case with everything in the year 2020, this September is much different.

“There are many different emotions and feelings in the air this week as our district staff gears up to welcome students back in school, many of them for the first time since mid-March.”

Reid said anxiety, fear and uncertainty are the top issues and it is completely understandable. She added that the addition of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 within the Powell River area has ramped up those fears.

“This pandemic has been and continues to be a challenge,” said Reid. “However, I’m proud of the work that has been done by our district leadership team, in collaboration with our staff and community members, for the robust plan in place to welcome back our students to their schools.

“It has been a long haul since the state of emergency was first declared until now. The school district is up to the challenge to tackle whatever may come our way until it’s over. We are counting on our community to also do their part, as the people of Tla’amin are currently doing, to slow the spread of the virus so that our kids can stay in school and get back into routines we all know they really need.”

Reid said people need to remember the steps to take to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as regular handwashing, staying home when sick, coughing into elbows, maintaining physical distance from others and wearing a mask when people aren’t able to maintain the distance.

“As long as we work together,” added Reid, “our community, our schools and our children will be as safe as possible.”

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