Principal Rob Clark posted a video to his Twitter account on Dec. 8, after having a conversation about COVID-19 stigma with one of his students. / Video image

Principal Rob Clark posted a video to his Twitter account on Dec. 8, after having a conversation about COVID-19 stigma with one of his students. / Video image

I think it’s hard for kids: B.C. principal urges parents to talk to children about COVID

Silverdale Elementary’s Rob Clark said he spoke with a child who feared death after testing positive

A Mission principal is worried about how kids are interpreting COVID-19, after speaking with a child who felt shame after testing positive for the virus.

Principal Rob Clark of Silverdale Elementary posted a video to Twitter on Dec. 7, expressing his concerns about how adults are talking to their kids about the pandemic.

“If we as adults struggle with coming to terms with what it means to be in a pandemic, how much harder is it for a kid?” Clark said. “We don’t have all the answers, and kids look to us for those answers.”

Clark said he recently spoke with a child who confided that he had recently tested positive. Clark said he was shocked to hear the child was afraid to die, and felt ashamed.

“They were worried their friends wouldn’t hang out with them anymore, they were worried the other kids would see them as somebody not to play with,” Clark said. “They were thinking that maybe no one will ever want to be around them again.”

He said he got emotional over the conversation, because he knows how hard it was for the child to share those feelings with him. Clark said the kid is now receiving additional support, but worries about other how other kids are thinking about the pandemic.

The problem is not the messaging from the health authorities, or even parents, according to Clark, but that kids may be misinterpreting what the virus means on their own.

“This doesn’t happen because you’ve done something wrong,” Clark said in the video. “This spreads because it spreads.

“If your family, or anybody you know comes into contact with COVID-19, make sure you’re not shunning them, make sure you’re not excluding them, make sure you’re not contributing to their social isolation. Make sure you’re not stigmatizing it.”

Clark said Silverdale Elementary has focused on increasing support services, as well as youth-care and counselling times, but that continuing rites of passages in schools are also important.

When their annual trip to a local pumpkin patch was cancelled in October, Clark brought hundreds of pumpkins to the school and continued the tradition with COVID-19-safe rules.

He said he doesn’t have all the answers, but thinks parents need to be checking in with their kids regularly, and seeing how their feeling.

“We’re social beings in nature, I think it’s hard for kids – they don’t connect the same way on a phone call,” Clark said. “They need the things to find joy in, to love doing and the things that are coming up in future.”

RELATED: Mission principal saves goat, praised as hero by kindergarten students

Mission

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

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read