We have been receiving some inquiries regarding what messages we are sending to our students during this period. We thought it would be helpful to share this message with you so that you can be informed as you field questions from parents. A note that we have had to make the decision to cancel our previously arranged activities for this week and next in light of the social distancing directive from our federal, provincial and local health authorities.
Here is the message that was shared with students earlier today:
As we move into Spring Break we wanted to reach out about the current situation with COVID-19. For everyone, our awareness, and the government reaction to COVID-19 has been changing rapidly over the past few days. Understandably, many of you might be feeling anxious right now. That being said, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in our community is still quite low. Everyone wants to keep the risk low, and health authorities have said that “social distancing” is the one of the most important ways to make sure the virus does not spread…to you, your homestay family members and others in the community.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least two meters (six feet) away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.
It is critical that we all do our part as citizens of the world, to social (physically) distance from others. You should not be going out in groups to shops/malls, you should not be going to restaurants or café’s at all (do take out). If you need some important supplies (medicine or personal items), go to the store alone and try to maintain distance from other shoppers. If your homestay asks you to stay home and away from other people, we ask that you respect this request.
Some ideas for things you can do and taking care of yourself:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate (use mindfulness). Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly (get outdoors – without getting in close contact with others, and take a walk each day), get plenty of sleep
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Social distancing does NOT mean social isolation – you can still talk with friends on skype/phone, etc…
- If you are going to look at the news, make sure that you’re going to a trustworthy source. CBC News in Canada is generally trustworthy, and the BC Centre for Disease Control has a good FAQs section if you’re looking for information.
- Most important - Practice excellent hygiene (frequent handwashing, don’t touch your face)
Victoria and Sooke are beautiful places to be, and there are plenty of parks and beaches to visit if you get tired of being stuck in the house.
Please pay attention to how you’re feeling and if you’re concerned that you’re overly anxious, reach out to your homestay family or to a member of the International Program.
If you’re concerned that you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 please tell your homestay family and DO NOT go to the hospital or a clinic. You can either use the Guard Me doctor app to speak with a doctor (available on your ICent App) or call the BC Nurses line at 8-1-1 to discuss your symptoms.
Please take care of yourselves,
Ms. Schwertfeger, Ms. O’Quinn and the ISP Program Staff