In the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the impact COVID-19 has had on my life and looked to where things have gotten better. This year at Thanksgiving I am thankful for so much. Yes, this year has delivered additional stress and disappointment while, at the same time, provided incredible perspective and clarity on what matters most. And for that, I am incredibly thankful.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve had a bit more time – okay, a lot more time – to acquire and sample scotch. This tasting of five different whiskies happened over two days separated by four months. Certainly a far cry from the regular way of doing things but, these days, things are anything but regular.
With Alberta schools back in session for less than a week, we’re already hearing of COVID-19 cases requiring students, teachers, and/or classes to self-isolate. Without question, this school year is going to be a rollercoaster for everyone connected to our schools. We need courage from the Government to own their decisions – not excuses and blame-shifting – if we find ourselves amidst a second wave of COVID-19 in Alberta.
Cases are rising again because we’ve strayed from thinking beyond ourselves. When we talk about a personal risk assessment for COVID-19, the focus on individual conditions fails to factor in behaviours. Let’s think bigger here and assess in terms of contracting the virus, spreading to close contacts, and complications or further spreading for those contacts. Because, let’s be serious, the virus isn’t concerned if you can recover; its focus is on spreading as far and as wide as possible.
As I (and so many parents) wrestle with Alberta’s school re-entry plan, I acknowledge that there will be an element of risk and no plan will be perfect. However, recklessness at the expense of the health and safety of our children, teachers, and support staff is completely unacceptable. There are a number of questions we should all be asking (repeatedly if need be) until we get clear answers.
Today, I acknowledge the darkness in the origins and recent history of Canada. Generations-long genocide of Indigenous people and systemic racism to maintain power and privilege of white people. And I celebrate Canada Day as a day to continue to work together to let more of the light in.
The injustice of the events over the past few months (and the shift I’ve seen in the world these past several years) is a constant source of frustration. As a straight, white man with privilege I’ll never fully understand, my responsibility is to spend that privilege to bring about changes that overcome injustice and inequity.