Catholic Division is reactive in dealing with COVID changes

Lorel Trumier /Herald File Photo

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty in the education sector.

At their meeting on Monday, May 4 the board of the Prince Albert Roman Catholic School Division were presented with a number of annual events or meetings that had been canceled.

Trumier explained that in the current reality everyone, including divisions, are reactive instead of proactive.

“Nobody likes operating in a reactive mode especially to something as serious as COVID. I think the world is coming to understand that this is well beyond any school division, well beyond any organization, any business. This is a global pandemic and I sense that with our staff and our parents and our students, our families, that everyone is willing to do what they need to do and we need to tell them they are doing the right thing,” director of education Lorel Trumier said.

She explained that the division is not surprised to be identifying cancelled events or cancelling events of their own at this time.

One such event that has become a tradition is the Diamonds and Pearls Fundraiser at the l’École Des Petis Preschool. The board wanted to continue to support the school with $1,000 while they wait to see what becomes of an event the public can attend. The board understood that these types of situations remain fluid.

“What we know now is that they need the dollars to continue to operate and yet they are operating differently so they can set up to do that. Therefore, there is still a need. But we do understand that they are still going to have their fundraiser maybe when things can resume to a new sense of normal. They might come up with a clever way to do fundraiser in a different way — they are just still not at that stage yet. That’s the thing we are only maybe a month into this story where lots of things have been halted or changed,” she said.

Some organizations that the division is involved with like the Catholic Trustees Association and the Catholic School Boards Association have delayed their AGMs until next year. Some organizations will hold an AGM in a different fashion or not have a conference the same way with some delaying until 2021.

“That’s a positive sign that the organization is saying that it can do it differently,” Trumier said.

The board annually meets with the City of Prince Albert Liaison Committee, but has delayed that meeting because there are no pressing matters. They were also contacted by Prince Albert Carlton MLA Joe Hargrave on April 28 regarding COVID-19 and educational planning and programing. He expressed concern and care for staff, students and families. Hargrave did commit to do all he could to support the Catholic Education community. The board felt that the annual meeting with MLAs can be held at a later date.

“The City is an organization that we work with well in our working relationship and if we need to call a meeting we will also know that they will meet with us and it is the same thing with our MLAs, now there is more pressing things that we need to address. We actually an avenue have to bring concerns that we have forward on any given time so for that reason we don’t need to attempt to hold that advocacy meeting at this time,” she said.

The school division usually plans their Opening Week 2020-2021 with professional development, opening mass, faith development day and staff meetings. The planning will be put in place to fufill requirement of starting next school year if permitted in schools. The board decided to set dates as usual until further notice.

The board also made some changes to Catholic Education Week, which is scheduled for May 17 to 24 with World Catholic Education Day on May 21. The board received an update that administration is working with school administration and staff to support special prayers and activities. There will also be special prayers and weekly lessons for that entire week. The Mass will still be celebrated and the division is in contact with Archbishop Albert Thevenot for more planning. They will have trustees join in special prayers and livestream the division will prayers of the Archbishop on May 21. That information will appear on the division’s website.