The start of the 2020-2021 academic year has been like no other, and our community has risen to the occasion to help deliver girls back to class as safely as possible. Along with finding our balance in a global pandemic, the first week ended with smoke drifting our way from the wildfires blazing in the western United States, affecting Vancouver’s air quality significantly—and more of our plans, by extension. Every breath through our cloth masks reminds us now more than ever, we need to support one another, offer each other understanding, and show everyone—including ourselves—as much compassion as we can.
The start of the school year gives us a chance to look ahead, and look back. Although a lot has changed at Crofton House, we can also take a moment to reflect on what is the same. “We have a tremendous community and understanding parents,” said one teacher. Students have reunited with each other happily, laughing and smiling as always. Behind the scenes, teachers and staff have been working tirelessly to collaborate on creative solutions, such as how we can continue our assemblies. Last week, for the first time in the School’s history, the Senior School was able to livestream their opening assembly.
At the assembly, Head of School, Ena Harrop reminded us that this isn’t the first time Crofton House School has had to adjust to a pandemic in its 123 years. In 1918, due to the Spanish Flu, the school shut down, and boarding students were placed in quarantine. Also unchanged is the willingness of the Crofton House community to help when needed. In 1918, boarders volunteered as nurses, for example. And today, we have alumnae working on the front lines of healthcare, and community support closer to home. “School will feel different this year, but courage, creativity, and citizenship should guide us now as they always have,” said Ms. Harrop.
We must have the courage to live with uncertainty and the creativity to keep moving forward safely. “It is a big step to come back to school, and when we cannot see the way ahead clearly, what matters is that we continue taking the next step. The one we can see in front of us,” said Ms. Harrop. On citizenship, this pandemic has exposed how interconnected our lives really are. At opening assemblies and in classrooms and conversations throughout these first weeks, we have asked ourselves to think about how we can send a message of caring and safety to one another. And we invite everyone to look at each other with compassion and understanding, remembering that each of us struggles with different things in different ways.
This year’s Head Girl, Akarty, echoed her message when she addressed her Senior School classmates. “The constant we share is the Crofton community: every student, teacher, and parent. The support we provide each other will always be there,” she said. With open hearts and minds, we continue on our next steps in the academic year 2020-2021, finding creative ways to do the things that are meaningful and special to us, and letting go of the things we can not change. As Akarty put it, in the words of Beyoncé Knowles: “if everything were perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.”