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

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) were deployed to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device on Jan. 20. (Google/Screencap)
UPDATED: Bomb disposal unit still determining nature of suspicious device found on Salt Spring Island

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Hecht Beach cabin in ashes. (Submitted)
Beloved secret cabin lost to fire on the North Island’s west coast

The trappers cabin was shared with locals, but kept mostly secret

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk on Nanaimo’s Victoria Road

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Most Read