March proved to be a historic month, not only for the Lester B. Pearson School Board, but for everyone living on the planet. On March 11th, just 2 days after our return from March break, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as a pandemic. We then quickly began to feel the impact of COVID-19. On March 13th, the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, declared the temporary closure of all schools and learning institutions in Quebec for a two-week period. On March 22nd, this closure was extended until May 1, 2020.
During this shutdown period, the administration at Lester B. Pearson School board has focused our efforts on 5 key areas:
- Maintaining essential school board operations;
- Operating emergency daycares in targeted areas of our territory;
- Respecting all public health directives, particularly for those employees continuing to report to work;
- Offering online activities and resources to students and their families so that students can remain engaged in their learning and promote positive mental health;
- Ensuring on-going communication with our community.
This collective experience is teaching all of us, staff and students alike, many important lessons. First, we are reminded of the importance of community and connectedness, for we are all in this together. Second, we are learning that resilience does follow adversity and that coping with the uncertainty and stress is a priority for all. Finally, we are gaining an appreciation that flexibility and adaptability are what is needed to adjust to our ever-changing realities.
In these first weeks of the pandemic, we have seen many caring, compassionate, and resilient responses in the face of the challenges created by the COVID-19 situation. I am confident in the capacity of the Lester B. Pearson community to weather this storm together. We have every reason to believe that #ItWillBeAlright, #ÇaVaBienAller.