The End is Near
by Dale Burgos
That’s a pretty ominous headline isn’t it? Trust me, my intentions are good.
Just recently, the Government of Canada, along with each province, announced that shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine have ramped up and we will soon catch up with other countries who are vaccinating their population by the thousands and even millions. This is welcome news to the front line workers, essential services, the many Canadians who have pre-existing health conditions, and most important, the elderly.
Here in B.C., the original plan was to provide a vaccine to anyone who wants by September. With the recent increase in shipments, Dr. Bonnie Henry had pushed that target to the end of June, just in time for the summer break. Here’s hoping we stick to that timeline!
Furthermore, the B.C. government announced that individuals working in the kindergarten to grade 12 education system will be receiving the vaccine as early as this month. This is welcome news for the thousands who work in our schools.
So, you see, the end is near – the end of COVID-19 that is. I remain optimistic, even though there are many COVID variants being discovered daily.
As many of you know, I’ve worked in the public education system for many years. It goes back to my time with Pembina Trails School Division in 2008 and then over to the Winnipeg School Division in 2012. For the past six years, I’ve been living on Vancouver Island working for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools (NLPS).
NLPS is the second largest school district on the Island, after Victoria. Yet throughout the pandemic, we’ve, unfortunately, been the leader with COVID exposures in schools. Local health officials attribute this to vulnerable populations and not adhering to health and safety measures. This has meant that I have been busy during the pandemic.
For those unfamiliar, I manage the communications and public relations for the school district. Each time there is an exposure, the health authority contacted me to coordinate the school investigation and provide information to our Medical Health Officer for their contact tracing. Each exposure event is easily a day’s worth of work. The good news, since we’ve had the most exposures, this has also meant that we’ve been able to streamline the process.
COVID and its affects, whether through affecting people’s health or the extra work is has brought to our crucial front-line workers or essential services such as education, has been a challenge. For me, this meant longer workdays and often working through the weekend. While the work has been hard, I’m not complaining, as I know there are many people out there who are out of work and/or suffering the mental effects of the pandemic.
Recently, I was appointed to lead the communications for a B.C. government COVID-19 Rapid Response Team overlooking school districts on Vancouver Island. It is a tremendous honour to have been chosen and I look forward to the challenge. I’ll be working with a team of medical health officers, senior administration, and environmental health officers. It is a dynamic and diverse team that will focus on the prevention, management and reporting of COVID-19 across 12 public school districts.
Taking this on during an already busy time managing my district will be interesting, but it is an opportunity I could not pass up. I mean, it won’t last forever since COVID will be gone by summer, right?
Dale wants to wish his mom the happiest of birthdays as she recently celebrated a milestone.