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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letter writers weigh in on the City of Nanaimo adopting ‘doughnut’ economics as a guiding principle for decision-making.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: City of Nanaimo’s ‘doughnut’ has to be more than empty calories

Letter writers react to city council’s recent decision to adopt ‘doughnut’ economic model

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken to hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Police in Nanaimo hope to find the owner of a Giant Reign mountain bike that was seized after a man was spotted riding it without a helmet on the wrong side of the road on Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP suspicious to find expensive bike covered in layer of duct tape

Police looking for owner of Giant Reign mountain bike that they believe was stolen

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker causes pain and damage at downtown Nanaimo gym

VIDEO: Suspect breaks fire alarm, slams door on business owner’s foot after attempting to defraud her

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken to hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam at a press conference last year. (Canadian Press photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Better federal vaccine planning badly needed

Why hasn’t Parliament done more to protect seniors and care homes, asks letter writer

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Kinsmen Participark in Beban Park will be closed next week so city workers can remove dangerous trees and invasive plant species. The work is the start of an improvement project that includes replacing signs and fitness stations in the spring. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo fitness park to close for removal of hazard trees and invasive plants

Tree cutting to start in Beban Park’s Kinsmen Participark as part of improvement project

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read