Much like the previous year, 2020-2021 was again punctuated by the COVID-19 pandemic and additional school lockdowns. Despite these ongoing challenges, staff and students remained focused on learning and supporting each other’s well-being. The Limestone District School Board Director’s Annual Report provides a brief snapshot of continued progress on our multi-year strategic plan anchored by the pillars of Wellness, Innovation and Collaboration.
While the school year began with a return to in-person learning, everyone – students, staff, families and partners – all had to adjust to a very different environment including new routines and safety protocols. While Limestone also experienced its first cases of COVID-19 in schools, staff worked diligently along KFL&A Public Health to contain and track cases to limit spread to broader school communities.
Our schools experienced two “shutdowns” in 2021: three-weeks in January, and a more significant three months from mid-April to the end of June. Given lessons learned in 2020, we were better prepared for the pivot to remote learning in terms of device allocation, virtual learning tools and mental health and wellness resources. Despite these added supports, the transition to a virtual setting was not easy. I was impressed, however, by how students and staff persevered and demonstrated great resilience and compassion for one another regardless of these obstacles. Again, our partnerships with public health and important municipal, community, and health-care partners were key in helping us support students and families.
Our work on our strategic priorities was greatly hampered by the pandemic in 2019-2020, and while there remained some roadblocks in 2020-2021, I am pleased to say that many initiatives resumed. In November 2021, staff provided the Board of Trustees with its traditional year-end update highlighting items labelled as yellow (making progress) or red (needs further attention) within the three pillars. Given the ongoing interruptions during the school year, there continue to be more red and yellow indicators than we would like, however, we are pleased with what was accomplished.
As was the case in 2019-2020, we continued to focus on anti-racism work and equity and inclusion to ensure our schools are safe spaces for everyone. Although delayed, a cornerstone of this work was the administration of our first-ever student census. We continue to unpack the results and have begun to share the data with our communities – all of which will help us bridge gaps and remove barriers for student achievement and well-being, especially in marginalized groups.
The challenges of the 2019-2020 school year underscored the amazing teaching and learning taking place across Limestone. We are fortunate to have a skilled, dedicated and compassionate staff who went above and beyond, despite the challenges of the pandemic, to serve students and support them to be the best they can be. This is our vision: to embrace and foster engaging and innovative learning where everyone achieves.
Krishna Burra, Director of Education