While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of everyday life for most of us, it has not changed the need for basic necessities among some of the most vulnerable children in the Vancouver School District.
Of course, some of the usual activities are not currently possible, but working together, the Vancouver School District and KidSafe have opened four school sites so the program can continue to provide critical supports to families. Between twenty and thirty children are able to spend what would normally be school hours at each site, along with three to five staff members. Staff hope to open two additional sites soon.
“We appreciate the work the staff at KidSafe have put in to make sure children in the Vancouver School District continue to have a safe, supportive, and fun place to be while we all navigate this unprecedented period,” says Sarah Rutherford, Manager of Enhanced Services at the Vancouver School District.
Provisions are in place such as regular reminders about remaining two metres apart from each other, and X marks placed in coloured tape on benches and areas of the floor where the students generally gather for circle time. Pencils, crayons and other supplies are not shared between the children as each has their own activity kit, and their individual stations are spread apart. Staff are continually explaining why maintaining distance and frequent handwashing are so important, emphasizing the measures will help to protect those fighting the virus on the front lines.
Families are able to pick up grab-and-go food packages each day, and staff are making deliveries to those unable to come to the schools. Volunteers are loading up their cars to make lunch deliveries, or transport boxes of fresh food essentials to the school sites to make sure the children are provided with nourishment - for healthy bodies and healthy brains.
Learn more about the KidSafe project on their website.