The Year of the Mask: Hard to believe it all started 12 months ago

Last March Break, my son and I drove my daughter back to Montreal following her break and spent a few days skiing and sightseeing before continuing on to Vermont to do more of the same. I vividly remember having brunch with Carly and her friends the day the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Looking back, it is surreal how quickly things unfolded from there and how slow I was to comprehend what this meant for our future.

The highway south was empty as my son and I crossed the border that same day, albeit with some trepidation. We hadn’t seen these family members in quite some time, and I rationalized that we could always turn around and come right back. Right?

We had plans to visit with two sets of family members and ski for the next four days and were determined to see these through. At our first stop, we FaceTimed with more family in Italy. They had just gone into lockdown two days earlier. They were surprised that we were gathering, and although we didn’t realize it then, their situation offered a glimpse into what our reality would soon become.

Our trip was curtailed by an anxious call to return to Montreal and pick up Carly as her university was shutting down. All this had transpired in a matter of days. We arrived back in Aurora to learn that the grocery store shelves were empty and people were hording things like toilet paper, wipes and flour. Never had I been so happy to return to the sanctuary of my home. Little did I know, I would not be venturing very far for the next year.

It’s strange what our mind does in an attempt to lessen the blow of a traumatic experience or drastic change in our routine. While we were away, I had drafted a blog post about the sudden arrival of the coronavirus, and my hastily written conclusion had us all back at school in person immediately following the break.

Now here we are one year later. This winter 2021 edition of The Link is fittingly called The Year of the Mask and showcases some of the significant changes that CDS underwent in order to get our students back to in-person learning for September. From a new Health & Wellness Centre and additional Outdoor Ed classrooms, to the interesting features on how our resilient students and alumni are coping during this time, I hope you find the contents of interest.

This issue also includes Part 1 of a two-part legacy piece on Paul Duckett, who served as CDS’s third Head of School for 22 years, retiring 10 years ago in 2011. And of course, we bring you another thought-provoking Growing Mind piece titled What is Self-Advocacy and Why Should Our Kids Learn How to Do It?

I hope you all can find some time to delve into this issue. For me, reading has provided a welcome escape from the news and technology this past year. May the same be true for you.

Stay safe everyone.

Kim Sillcox
Editor and Director of Communications & Marketing