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Pandemic a learning experience, says Powell River Board of Education chairperson

School district has been adaptive in wake of complexities, according to Dale Lawson
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NEW YEAR: School District 47 board of education chairperson Dale Lawson highlighted the first month of the return to schools in her remarks at the October school board meeting.

COVID-19 has been a learning experience for School District 47, according to Powell River Board of Education chairperson Dale Lawson.

“As we approach the two-year mark since the pandemic was declared, we can recognize that the event has brought us many experiences, and through it all, we’ve learned a lot,” said Lawson. “We’ve learned how important in-person contact is for the intellectual growth of our students. We’ve also learned the importance of connectedness for all of us in maintaining good mental health and well-being. We were reminded that schools assist families in meeting their child care needs and that more support was needed outside of school hours.”

“We’re proud of the hard work our staff has put in to keep schools and programs open to support students and their families during these challenging times, despite the ever-changing complexities. Over the past two years, we were reminded that support looks different for different people and that when we are faced with challenges, the best path forward is one we forge together.”

Lawson said ensuring children get the best possible start in life is an important element of student success.

“We know the years before kindergarten are an integral part of a child’s learning journey,” said Lawson. “Delivering early learning opportunities, such as kindergarten transitions; ready, set learn; strong start and day cares at schools, support future educational success, which is why we’re looking forward to new opportunities to support students and their families with the transition of child care into BC Ministry of Education. The planning for the transition has just begun, more details will follow in the coming months.”

Lawson said the school district has been proud to showcase some of the thoughtful kindness demonstrated throughout the school communities since the onset of the pandemic, but these times have also highlighted big challenges faced by many communities, including locally.

“We must recognize the privilege we experience in our insulated, remote coastal community,” said Lawson. “I am grateful to live in a relatively safe community, where we are sheltered from some of the most heinous acts that we read about in news coverage, but we are not exempt from experiencing or witnessing acts of hate, racism and harassment. Subtle microaggressions can have lasting, detrimental effects, too, and I believe education is key.”

Lawson pointed out that this month, Pink Shirt Day is February 23, a day where everyone is invited to wear pink, raise awareness, and start a conversation to end bullying.

“I believe each of us has a responsibility to educate those around us, to end hate and bullying in all of its forms,” said Lawson.

“We can choose to celebrate and embrace diversity, kindness, and inclusion. Check out our website at sd47.bc.ca to learn more about how School District 47 promotes Pink Shirt Day and takes a stand against hate and bullying.”

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