Letter: We honour Burnaby School District staff for their work amid a crisis


To each and every employee of the Burnaby School District:

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While we know that these times have been anything but simple, we are writing to share a simple word: thanks. This word is incapable of conveying the immense gratitude we feel for what you have done for our students, their families, the wider community and each other.

Each and every one of you has played a valuable role in what amounts to the creation and support of an entirely new way of delivering public education. As if that weren’t remarkable enough, you have done it virtually overnight. We’re also aware that you have done it with personal sacrifice, such as with long hours and time lost with your own loved ones. And some of you have done it while taking care of the children of essential service workers in our schools. We are grateful for you volunteering to take on this important work for our healthcare heroes and other workers whose jobs are so critical.

Whether or not you work directly with students, you are making an incredible difference.

While we can’t comprehensively name everyone’s role here, please know that we see you and appreciate you: staff who are implementing the critical health, safety and cleaning protocols; staff who are providing food for students and families; staff who are maintaining important functions for business, information technology, and administrative supports; administrators who are reaching out directly to families and so effectively communicating the needs of your school communities; and teachers who are using creative approaches for students’ continued learning and inspiring us all.

All of you, whether named or not, are single-handedly, and together, maintaining our district’s mission in the midst of a pandemic:

To engage and empower a caring, inclusive community of learners for the opportunities of today and tomorrow.

Our schools are the heart of our community, and it is truly wonderful to see how they are continuing to serve in that role, even in this new age of social and physical distancing. It is not lost on us that you are doing all of this while managing your own concerns about your loved ones and the world around us in these challenging times.

It is incredibly inspiring to see how the District has come together to ensure all learners have access to technology, food security and other assistance, such as support for mental health. It is another example of how caring and compassion are woven into the very fabric of our district’s culture.

This time apart from our “normal life” has made us all reflect on and reassess our priorities. While things look different and can’t be perfect, we’re so proud of how you have managed to maintain what matters most. You are truly remarkable. We are truly grateful.

We look to you with confidence and appreciation, while wishing you and your loved ones the very best of health in these challenging times. Thank you for supporting our students, their families and each other.

Stay well and strong.

The Burnaby Board of Education: Gary Wong, chair and trustees Jen Mezei, Peter Cech, Bill Brassington, Christine Cunningham, Ryan Stewart and Larry Hayes


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