As I sit here writing this post it’s been 6 weeks (42 days) since the announcement came from the provincial government that all in-class instruction in our schools was being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If I’m being completely honest … it feels like its been closer to 6 months. The information onslaught, video-conference calls and numerous educational changes have been relentless. Changes that include:
from how we were doing school to an UNFAMILIAR way of teaching, learning and assessing;
feeling UNSETTLED about not knowing what comes next;
increased levels of ANXIETY among many in our community.
I have never experienced anything remotely similar to this pandemic in my lifetime. When I look back in time I can find The Spanish Flu epidemic from 1918-1920. It was devasting in Canada and around the world. In our country an estimated 55,000 people died — most of them between the ages of 20-40. Interestingly, coming out of WW1 Canada lost a little more than 60,000 soldiers (1914-1918).
But, there isn’t anything more recent that resembles the world-wide pandemic we are currently living within.
Why was the Spanish Flu so devastating? Several reasons have been mentioned (such as a lack of suitable drugs and communication), but the most significant cause was a lack of adequate quarantine measures. We also didn’t have very good coordination between the various health authorities across the country.
Spring Break 2020 – not the relaxing holiday I was anticipating.
On March 17th the provincial government announced that all in-class instruction was being suspended indefinitely throughout BC. School districts were suddenly being tasked with turning our primarily face-to-face teaching paradigm on its head — to move everyone into a virtual teaching platform by the end of Spring Break.
To be clear — we were not being asked to move the entire district to an on-line platform. We were not creating a system of on-line teachers and learners. We were being tasked with creating remote learning during a crisis.