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A Message We Should All Hear and Heed in These Stressful Days of the COVID Pandemic

This is a post written by an Office Administrator at a school in Cornwall, Ontario.

This is what happened when I got home tonight. I cried. I cried at work yesterday. I also cried 3 different times last night after getting home from work. I am an Office Administrator at an elementary school and this is how my day has gone. I'm crying because the work and expectations that have been put upon us with the added ridiculous time frames are overwhelming. I'm crying because I am having to answer the phone and hear the concerns and frustrations of parents who are upset at the policies put in place to protect their children while they are at school. I'm crying because I have to call home for a child who is sick and risk getting yelled at because I have now inconvenienced a parent who has to get a COVID test for their child. I'm crying because I have been told to get my shit together because a policy has changed and someone doesn't agree (I didn't change the policy, I am just following the policy). I am crying because I have 400 children and 50 staff to help try and keep healthy & illness-free during a Pandemic yet parents continue to send their children to school sick (regardless if it is just a cold and not COVID - you shouldn't send them anyway!). So the next time you answer the phone and it is one of the school office staff calling, please remember that he/she has probably already been yelled at, spoken down to, and just right out disrespected and is already nervous about calling home again for a student. We know it can be an inconvenience, we know you may have to cancel plans, we understand that you may need a few minutes to make a phone call to get Grandpa or Grandma or a neighbour to pick them up - we are human too. A simple thank you for calling will suffice and a smile at the door when you pick up your baby. Remember I am the one who also comforts your child when they fall and need ice and a funny story to turn their day around or a bandaid and a hug to get rid of the tears because they scraped their knee. I also reassure your child when they are crying because they forgot their lunch and life is now over. I'm the person who makes sure your child gets their medication at lunch or helps to checks their blood sugar before they eat. I also stay with your child at the end of the day when they missed the bus or someone hasn't come to pick them up yet and they now think they have to sleep at the school! We wear many hats in the office and many times we work in the shadows going unnoticed. Be kind and be thankful that there is someone looking out for your child when you can't be there with them.


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