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Director’s Message for National Day of Observance for COVID-19

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Director’s Message for National Day of Observance for COVID-19

Today, March 11, 2021, we join organizations across Ontario by flying our flags at half-mast to honour the National Day of Observance for COVID-19. This marks one year from the day that the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The past year has changed so much for so many of us.

Staff and students across our board have adapted in ways that we did not think were possible. For many, teaching and learning changed drastically as we moved online. We all learned new protocols and precautions. We saw students and colleagues struggle – and we did out best to help. We stuck to our beliefs, and to our focus on the learning and well-being of students.

We continue to see how the pandemic exacerbates inequities in marginalized communities. Great pain exists in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. We must act to address this. We must also face the reality that the pandemic had had an outsized impact on women, as many left the workforce due to competing concerns.

On a personal level, so many in our community have also faced illness, separation and financial hardship. We are grieving 22,000 Canadians who have died of COVID-19, leaving loved ones behind. We have all missed holidays, birthdays, religious observances, funerals and anniversaries together. We have had to fight our natural urge to gather, to hug, to be close to those we love.

When it comes to mental health and well-being, we will see the pandemic’s impacts in our students, families and staff for years to come. I hope we will always remember the positive things. We have seen such incredible work by those around us, to provide safe learning environments and front-line service. Let’s remember the helpers, and the spirit of connection we see each day as teachers check that their students are safe.

Thank you for your incredible efforts during a year we will never forget, and hopefully will never repeat. There is no “going back to the way we were before” because the world has been changed. We are constantly provided with new opportunities and questions, such as whether the post-pandemic future needs a remote learning option.

On this special day, let’s reflect on the year and take a moment to heal. We will need this for inspiration and strength, as we rebuild the caring learning community we know and love.


Manny Figueiredo
Director of Education 

Updated on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
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