Letters to the Editor.

LETTER – The school system deserves recognition for its handling of COVID

Dear editor,

There are so many workers and organizations which deserve hearty appreciation for the work done during the COVID pandemic, most obviously health-care workers.

I cannot imagine the challenges being faced, having no first-hand experience in those enterprises.

However, I do have experience in the school system, having spent my entire career in various roles as teacher, counsellor, principal of five schools (secondary, middle and elementary) and over seven years at the central office, six of those as superintendent of schools.

Educating thousands of children and teens every day is not an easy task. Ability levels can be astonishingly wide, even at the same grade level. Some grade seven students have reading ability approaching college levels, while others,for a wide variety of reasons, are unable to read past early grade levels. There are children and youth with physical challenges that require a full-time support aide who work alongside gifted athletes. There are students from affluent families and those with not enough to eat. Most students have parents who care and love them. Sadly, there is a minority of children who are left to virtually fend for themselves at an astonishingly young age.

The scale of the numbers, the range of ability, the variety of backgrounds, all combine to make educating children and teens in a safe environment a considerable challenge in any “normal” year. In an era of a pandemic, it must have been a colossal undertaking, and one the district has, by all reasonable measure, done exceedingly well.

The first impulse is to focus on teachers – their instruction is, after all, the key component to education. The admirable work they have done in extremely trying circumstances must be recognized. However, they do not work in a vacuum. Teacher aides work daily with the most vulnerable students in the system. Principals and vice-principals have organized and/or operated the schools in ways never done before. Clerical personnel have answered queries and performed tasks in an atmosphere laden with much more anxiety than usual.

And any homeowner knows the tasks of keeping a house clean and safely maintained. In a time of a dangerous pandemic, that task, across dozens of buildings and acres of grounds, is almost unimaginable.

Central office employees, from payroll clerks, business, and financial personnel and HR specialists, to those co-ordinating district-wide responses, have supported the schools through what must be very stressful times.

It is also logical to assume that the support of parent advisory councils (PACs) has been a contributor to the overall system success to this point in time.

When it was announced that schools would be in session this fall, I must admit to having doubts about the wisdom of the decision. But by any reasonable standard, SD71 people have faced a daunting challenge with innovation and determination, and deserve kudos for their efforts.

Clyde Woolman,


Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

Most Read