Dear Changemaker families and supporters,
As increasing COVID case numbers continue to be publicized in Alberta and the economy continues to dip and dive, we know many families are starting to feel an increase in anxiety and stress again.
On a personal level, I want everyone to know that I take the preventative measures and cohorting very seriously. My own family has one single cohort: the Changemaker School. My children attend our school and on weekends they play outdoors with our street neighbours (who also attend our school). Our children have not been in extra curricular activities this year and my husband works in an office on his own in an empty building or at a distance from others outdoors at his building sites. We order our groceries to our door and mostly shop online (supporting smaller and local businesses when possible). I communicate with friends and family remotely (Zoom, phone calls, texts and online). I will admit a lot of this has to do with how busy I am this year as Head of School and I place absolutely no judgement or expectations on those who are doing things differently. I feel that everyone in our school community is doing the best they can according to their own lived experiences and family dynamics. I only write this to assure you that I do not take my responsibilities as Head of a School in the middle of a global pandemic lightly.
On a school level, I want to send a huge thank-you to Barb Clarke who took over our daily cleaning, janitorial and classroom care in the middle of September. Her impeccable attention to detail, endless hours of research on cleaning supplies and disinfectants and her hard work deep cleaning every night has undoubtably kept the majority of our students and staff illness-free since the second week of school.
I want to also send a huge thank-you to our teachers who continue to remind students about proper hygiene, are ensuring students wash hands with soap and water regularly throughout the day, are disinfecting surfaces/high-touch areas as often as they can and who wear their masks indoors whenever they are unable to maintain a 2m distance from their students or other adults in the building. Teachers are also constantly finding ways to support the mental health of students and maintain a sense of normalcy while doing their best to follow our cohorting guidelines.
I want to send a huge thank-you to parents for continuing to keep your children home when they are symptomatic and for being mindful and respectful of the different views and needs among our school community during this challenging time.
In addition to all of the above, right now my priority is to support the mental health of my students and staff and to continue to facilitate opportunities for students to practice problem solving and building their social-emotional skills. Children are feeling the anxiety and stress of their parents and the outside world and we are seeing this come out in student behaviours and anxiety at school. If we can provide a sense of normalcy for children at school and offer an environment where it is safe to work through big feelings, I truly believe we will not only be building healthy levels of resilience which will serve our students well later in life, but students will also be able to maintain stronger immune systems. There is plenty of research that shows the connection between stress levels, mental health and physical health. This is a time to be flexible, show grace and offer love as we all navigate these challenging times. Be brave. Be kind. We will get through this.
Thank you for your continued support.
Head of School