As Vancouver Island students return to the classroom, parents may be excited about a year free of COVID-19 restrictions, but the economy is causing other concerns.
The end of last school year brought some hope to students, parents and families as trips and events became a part of regular school programming, according to Courtenay Elementary District Parent Advisory Council representative Shawn Thir.
“As soon as the province said everything was okay, we got back to as close to normal as we could get,” said Thir. “We started having assemblies, we had a big barbeque at the end of the year.”
Thir adds that this year will still have caution around COVID-19, but it should run more like a typical school year.
However, food security is a big issue for many students and families, according to Thir, and the district has been fortunate to receive funding from the province and have good partnerships with the food bank.
“They’ve been great, they’ve helped out the school a lot,” said Thir. “They’ve done everything from providing ingredients for our meal program, to snack bags for the kids.
“Whenever they have extra muffins or bagels, there’s been a couple of times where I’ve just set up on the front lawn and started handing them out after school and the parents are really happy to get that.”
He adds provincial funding announced last week will also help with meal programs and ensure more children are fed.
With fewer restrictions this year, the kids and families are looking forward to more field trips and being around their friends as they would have before the pandemic.
He adds new changes to school zones from the City of Courtenay are being welcomed, with 30 km/h speed limits being extended from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., until 8 p.m.