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

Volunteers decorate the Alberni Valley Hospice Society on Saturday, Nov. 28. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni Valley Hospice Society lights up for holidays

New event is a fundraiser for society that runs Ty Watson House hospice and other programs

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Nuu-chah-nulth nations on Vancouver Island hit hard by COVID-19

Eight nations dealing with positive tests, hospitalizations and death

Tseshaht Market is located on Highway 4 west of Port Alberni. (GOOGLE MAPS)
Tseshaht First Nation condemns actions of abusive customer

Customer objected to Tseshaht Market’s COVID-19 protection policy

A lightning strike destroyed a radio repeater on Porter Mountain, shutting down the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure’s highway cam at Sutton Pass. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure photo)
Lightning strike shuts down camera on Tofino-Ucluelet highway

“One of our radio repeater sites was recently struck by lightning.”

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

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

The first of two earthquakes near Alaska on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is shown in blue. (USGS)
No tsunami risk after two earthquakes near Alaska

Both earthquakes hit near the U.S. state on Dec. 1

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

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 CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Most Read