I REMEMBER one of my very first days of kindergarten as if it were yesterday.
There I was, a tiny five-year-old, walking up the steps of the school. But before I could reach the top step, the doors of the school burst open and a group of large, older students (who must have been in at least Grade 3 or 4) burst out of the school doors and plowed right into me.
But just as quickly, my teacher, the principal and others took care of me. First aid was administered, comfort was given, my parents were notified.
What happened then, more than anything, gives me confidence in the days and weeks ahead, as our schools reopen under the cloud of COVID.
There is so much uncertainty around COVID. There is more than the usual first-day-of-school amount of anxiety, worry and fear. We cannot know all of what will happen.
We may not know what will happen, but we have certainty of many things.
Just as so many years ago, when the school staff and administrators were there to look after my injuries, the schools today are ready and able to help students follow COVID protocols to keep students healthy. They are willing and able to follow the protocols set out by the provincial health office.
Just as the teacher and others reassured me after the accident, today’s teachers and other school employees will be there to help students deal with their anxieties around COVID. COVID may be new, but schools have decades of experience helping students deal with difficult situations.
Not every event, like being bowled over by a pack of Grade 3 students, can be anticipated. But being ready to react can be prepared for. Just as my school was ready with first aid, now, when a COVID case is detected, schools have a plan in place to react to ensure the safety of the students and to prevent outbreaks.
And, as much as we are anxious for our children, we need to remember that there is so much joy in going to school. I can’t deny that I didn’t have a bit of apprehension the next time I approached those steps (or even a few times after that as well). But that was far outweighed by the positive feelings I had for going to school.
This year, our teachers, administrators, and support staff will be doing this year what they’ve been doing since we were all in kindergarten. Providing a safe, caring and thoughtful place for our children to learn. There will be a few scraped knees along the way. There may even be a case of COVID. But we can all be assured that our kids are in good hands as they walk up the steps to their schools at the start of this school year. The school’s teachers, administrators and support staff are ready, just like they were so many years ago.
Thank you to teachers, administrators, and support staff for taking on this extra COVID role this year.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.