Dear Friends of Vista Virtual School,
Today (March 11) marks the one-year anniversary of Canada’s first known death related to COVID-19. As such, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that March 11, 2021 would be marked as a National Day of Observance to honour Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID-19, and to recognize the massive impact the pandemic has had on all of us.
Few domains have felt the impact of the pandemic more acutely than the educational sector. While Vista Virtual School has not been impacted to the same degree as many other schools thanks to its online educational model, COVID has nonetheless upended the lives of every student, parent, teacher, and support staff member on an individual basis, while also interfering with many regular school activities, from student-parent-teacher interviews to in-person field trips to graduation ceremonies.
Over the last year, the pandemic has taken the lives of more than 22,000 Canadians, while infecting a further 864,000. Nevertheless, these numbers would be much higher were it not for the tremendous sacrifices you have all made. Our children have missed play dates and school trips; Zoom meetings have replaced social interactions; our elderly relatives are experiencing isolation and loneliness; and many are grappling with job loss and financial insecurity.
Despite all the hardships and sacrifices, the VVS community has remained strong and vital. This is due in no small part to our educational model—we have in fact been “social distancing” since we opened our doors in 1996—but it is also a testimony to the value our families and community members place in education and all of your resolve to make this experience as positive as possible. In the end we will all be able to look back on this time and say that we did the best possible for our children and youths.
Our physical office in Calgary remains closed except for pre-arranged appointments, but our teachers, academic counsellors, and support staff continue to be available to students and parents/guardians as we continue to navigate these challenging times. In the meantime, we will continue to make student life as “normal” as we possibly can, including by way of a virtual graduation ceremony for our Class of 2021. Stay tuned for more information on this.
Our administrative team is deeply proud of our community of educators, support staff, students, and families for coming together during this strange and difficult time. To our families, we are grateful that you have continued to choose Vista Virtual School for your children’s education, and to our adult upgrading students we applaud you for pushing forward with your education in these tough times.
Please join us in honouring all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past year and sending our best wishes of healing and comfort to all those directly impacted by the virus. Now more than ever we need to work together as the light at the end of the tunnel grows nearer.
Mike Loitz, Principal
Treena Bradbury, Associate Principal
Frank McCallum, Associate Principal
Vista Virtual School