Hello Chestermere-Strathmore readers.
I would like to start off by sending my deepest condolences to those families who have lost loved ones this week to COVID-19. I cannot imagine how difficult it is under these circumstances to have a loved one sick or in the hospital for any reason, and then to be separated because of quarantine is just painful. As I write this we are now close to 3000 cases of COVID-19, and have lost 55 of our loved ones with over 1100 recovered. We have also tested 100,000 people, by far the most rigorous testing in North America.
So how is your homeschooling going? Our new normal of being quarantined has brought many new experiences into our lives, and one of those is the education of our kids. I had the opportunity to chat with some of you about your experiences, and I have to say the level of innovation, creativity and motivation in our new setting is really inspiring. Thank you to our awesome trustees, school boards and teachers who are presenting our curriculum in new and inventive ways, for dealing with on line class rooms where the kiddos are so happy to see each other after weeks of not playing together that getting focused is really difficult, and to the kids who are taking it all in.
Many parents have spoken about routine and structure to that routine, and really focusing on the basics. I have been reading with my nephew and my friends’ children and I have to say that I really hope that this continues after COVID-19 is a distant memory. We have been zooming, skyping, or calling each other often to catch up on daily house dramas, and my husband, who has always been a great cook has decided to do things like making bread and homemade sausage with my sons, and then sharing pictures of the finished products with our family. Kids love board games and monopoly is such a great way for them to learn how to make change. One of the parents I was speaking with was having her junior high son create practice sheets to help out his younger siblings, and then she was helping him with his practice sheets for math. The most important thing to remember is that this is not going to last forever, and there are great opportunities for us to not only enjoy our kids at home, but mostly not to stress over it too much. There are a ton of free resources and our teachers are ready, willing and able to help us through this.
The mass shooting in Nova Scotia has sent chills up and down the spines of many of us this past weekend. There are not many details to share, however, it has been said that this it is the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, married with two children, died as she lived throughout her 23-year career, protecting Canadians. It appears that the shooter used a mock RCMP vehicle and was dressed as a RCMP officer when he went on this rampage before being shot and killed by police. The investigation is ongoing, and my heart goes out to the families who have suffered this unimaginable loss in Nova Scotia.
I want to chat with you about mental health. In these trying times we have many worries. We worry about our seniors, we worry about our children, we worry about our businesses and jobs, and of course we worry about ourselves. This takes a toll on our wellbeing and makes it hard to be there for those who matter most to us. If you are feeling alone and overwhelmed by this please remember this is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Help is available and the government has announced an additional 53 million dollars for services to make sure you can get the help you need with expanded access to online and phone resources and support to our many wonderful volunteer, non-profit and charitable organizations. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to Albertans from resources like the Mental Health, Addictions, and Kids Help Lines and the Crisis Text Line. To be connected to mental health support, please call 211, visit www.alberta.ca/mentalhealth, or call my office at 403-962-0126 and we will do our best to assist you. Remember, you are not alone and we are all in this together.