Principal Rob Clark posted a video to his Twitter account on Dec. 8, after having a conversation about COVID-19 stigma with one of his students. / Video image

Principal Rob Clark posted a video to his Twitter account on Dec. 8, after having a conversation about COVID-19 stigma with one of his students. / Video image

I think it’s hard for kids: B.C. principal urges parents to talk to children about COVID

Silverdale Elementary’s Rob Clark said he spoke with a child who feared death after testing positive

A Mission principal is worried about how kids are interpreting COVID-19, after speaking with a child who felt shame after testing positive for the virus.

Principal Rob Clark of Silverdale Elementary posted a video to Twitter on Dec. 7, expressing his concerns about how adults are talking to their kids about the pandemic.

“If we as adults struggle with coming to terms with what it means to be in a pandemic, how much harder is it for a kid?” Clark said. “We don’t have all the answers, and kids look to us for those answers.”

Clark said he recently spoke with a child who confided that he had recently tested positive. Clark said he was shocked to hear the child was afraid to die, and felt ashamed.

“They were worried their friends wouldn’t hang out with them anymore, they were worried the other kids would see them as somebody not to play with,” Clark said. “They were thinking that maybe no one will ever want to be around them again.”

He said he got emotional over the conversation, because he knows how hard it was for the child to share those feelings with him. Clark said the kid is now receiving additional support, but worries about other how other kids are thinking about the pandemic.

The problem is not the messaging from the health authorities, or even parents, according to Clark, but that kids may be misinterpreting what the virus means on their own.

“This doesn’t happen because you’ve done something wrong,” Clark said in the video. “This spreads because it spreads.

“If your family, or anybody you know comes into contact with COVID-19, make sure you’re not shunning them, make sure you’re not excluding them, make sure you’re not contributing to their social isolation. Make sure you’re not stigmatizing it.”

Clark said Silverdale Elementary has focused on increasing support services, as well as youth-care and counselling times, but that continuing rites of passages in schools are also important.

When their annual trip to a local pumpkin patch was cancelled in October, Clark brought hundreds of pumpkins to the school and continued the tradition with COVID-19-safe rules.

He said he doesn’t have all the answers, but thinks parents need to be checking in with their kids regularly, and seeing how their feeling.

“We’re social beings in nature, I think it’s hard for kids – they don’t connect the same way on a phone call,” Clark said. “They need the things to find joy in, to love doing and the things that are coming up in future.”

RELATED: Mission principal saves goat, praised as hero by kindergarten students

Mission

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read