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School during COVID-19

Dear Editor,

September 18th: the first day of my senior year. The teachers make apologies throughout the class about how everyone’s working out how to use this new virtual learning environment. This is unprecedented, after all. My laptop camera breaks after the first period. I download three new Chrome extensions. They won’t really work without access to Google Chrome, and they’re necessary for the course. My Internet blinks out a few times.

“We’re all trying,” seems to be the tagline of this first day. Even so, as Canadians, what we take for granted- a working laptop, an Internet connection- are still privileges. The pandemic has caused new barriers to education: no device with a microphone and camera, no WiFi, no time, and sometimes, no teachers, no classes, and closed schools. Of course, surface-level aids such as radio classes and hand-washing facilities at schools have and must be put into place. However, to end the pandemic is the only permanent solution.

From a place of privilege, it’s easier to shut out the events that are happening across the world instead of leveraging your voice and your resources to build a better world. I call for one per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 budget to be allocated to global response as to end COVID-19 across the world and to make sure those who are disadvantaged have access to the same medical services as we do. Don’t let our fellow humans across the world be left to suffer when we have the resources to save them.

All the best,

Kaitlyn Chen