EDITORIAL – This first day of school is a nail-biter like no other

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is always a combination of excitement, anticipation and nervousness.

Today and tomorrow, the emphasis is on nervousness, as preparations for school in the time of COVID-19 are tested. Many are convinced the system will get a failing grade.

Certainly, in some parts of the country, the panic button is already being pressed. Here in B.C., a lot of thought, and some adjustments, have been put into the plan in hopes of a safe return.

Kamloops teachers went back to work Tuesday for a couple of days of orientation on procedures; today and Friday, classes resume. The school district assures parents the local start-up plan has received approval within provincial guidelines.

Given all the controversy, that isn’t likely to assuage concerns. The B.C. Teachers Federation continues to ring alarm bells, yesterday saying some districts don’t have enough face shields and reusable masks.

Some teachers say they’ve had to buy a supply of masks themselves because the ones promised by the government haven’t arrived.

That’s low-key stuff compared to Ontario, for example, where some teachers are in a state of near-hysteria over concerns about lack of social distancing.

As Donald Trump would say, it is what it is. We’re all in this together, after all, and that includes drivers who were still blasting through school zones earlier this week as though it was the middle of summer holidays.

That almost included me, who was warned by an arm-waving pedestrian as I entered a school zone to slow down. Even though the kids weren’t back yet, teachers were, and it was a good reminder we all have to be vigilant.

The best approach now is a positive, agile attitude. Some say school should have been delayed another couple of weeks but the time for hand-wringing is past. What’s needed now is co-operation among all concerned and re-assurance to our kids that we’ve got their backs.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9052 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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