The graduating class of 2020 won’t be celebrating like classes prior. (Pixabay photo)

The graduating class of 2020 won’t be celebrating like classes prior. (Pixabay photo)

VIDEO: Dr. Bonnie Henry offers words of encouragement to B.C.’s 2020 graduating class

B.C.’s provincial health officer voiced support for parents and students during this unprecedented time

B.C. youth in the graduating class of 2020 are bidding farewell to their high school years in an unprecedented way – one their parents and grandparents will surely be unable to relate to.

As provinces across the country look to easing social contact restrictions, large-scale events such as graduations will remain off the table, health officials have confirmed. In B.C., Premier John Horgan has hinted that students likely won’t be returning back into the classroom until September at the earliest.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, wants each graduating student to look at this experience as a unique and historic one.

“The traditional ceremonies and celebrations that we would expect to have as we make this major transition from high school to the rest of our lives are on hold right now and we won’t be doing them in the same way this summer, but take heart we are thinking about that and teachers, administrators and parents are still working to make this an incredibly memorable experience for all of you,” Henry said during her Saturday (May 2) news conference.

“You need to think about this in that you are, and will always be, unique in the graduating class. It has been over a hundred years since we have had an event like this pandemic. Few of us will ever know or experience graduating during the circumstances at a global pandemic.”

ALSO READ: Gay-straight alliances go virtual during COVID-19 pandemic

For many young people, the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to daily life and future plans has provoked anxiety, Henry continued, which is to be expected.

The B.C. government has launched a suite of resources for youth and their parents to support them through mental health struggles that may be triggered by or exacerbated by the pandemic.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

“I know many of us are feeling the fatigue and frustration of maintaining safe physical distance, of not seeing our friends, of having to connect with people in a virtual way, and it’s especially challenging for young people where the main connections are often related to friends in school,” Henry said.

“That can make people feel very overwhelmed and anxious and we know families are doing their best and it can be very challenging to have your family around you all of the time.

“I want you to know that you are not alone. We understand that this can be very anxiety provoking, we understand that there’s a lot of things we don’t know and we’re working through it together.”

Henry urged anyone who needs help to contact the Kids Help Line at 1-800-680-4264.

HERE2TALK: B.C. launches free counselling service for post-secondary students

As for parents who have found themselves homeschool their children while also working, the provincial health officer offered said she understands how tough and frustrating balancing both may feel for British Columbians but also for the millions of parents and guardians around the world.

“Do what you can. I understand this isn’t easy… there is no such thing as perfect, it is an unattainable concept and none of us should be striving for it,” she said, adding that the government will be there to ensure children don’t fall through the cracks once it is safe to return to the classroom.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEducation

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

Just Posted

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Peninsula hospital one where ‘significant work underway’ to repair Indigenous relations

Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Most Read