CTR schools begin to address widespread student wellness issues

·3 min read

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools have released that one third of students within the division have indicated experiencing wellness issues in some capacity.

In the same release, the school division indicated “more than 60 per cent” of teachers felt their students were experiencing some form of wellness issues.

“Basically, since March 2020 when the whole world changed, it’s hard on all age groups when you start putting (up) certain restrictions and people can’t do certain things they love to do,” said Holy Cross Collegiate Principal, Laverne Evans. “Things we take for granted are suddenly changed and then even something as simple as going to school, you never would have thought that kids couldn’t come to school.”

He described the long-term effects being seen as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to influence the ability for the school to hold activities for its students.

Evans added even regular study habits and the way students have approached certain exams has shifted in the wake of consistently changing health and safety protocols and lesson delivery.

“Last year it was challenging because you had no final exams, so it’s a different mindset where you know you can go into a test and you know your mark isn’t necessarily going to go down,” he said. “All of a sudden, you have to relook at study habits, how do you prepare for tests, the importance of exams — even something as simple as that.”

Sacred Heart Academy Principal, Paulette Chotowetz said the metrics were determined through the results of a survey released within the school last year, which formed the basis of the approach to improve conditions.

“We’ve met as teachers and what we’re looking at are universal strategies that we can incorporate in our everyday classrooms and our everyday interactions,” she said. “I think whenever you are able to have a classroom with a teacher in front and some classmates being able to interact, I think it makes for … a better learning environment.”

She added as the school year continues, she is looking to emphasize routine, social interaction and relationship building as avenues to begin improving overall student wellness.

Thus far, she believes the effort is beginning to show for the students.

“I think they’re responding very well,” she said. “I think it’s not something that’s easy to fix — it’s a very conscious effort on teachers’ part to be aware … but normal structure, normal coming to school every day, normal routines … I think is a huge benefit for us.”

Evans, despite consistently shifting health measures and conditions, is optimistic and believes overall, the state of school operations is better this year than it was in 2020.

“We started the year with no masks and now our kids have to wear masks and they’ve been great about that, but we have our sports teams gong, we hosted a volleyball tournament a couple weekends ago, our kids are playing school sports, so for that it’s been really good,” said Evans.

He added he and the staff recognize at Holy Cross Collegiate specifically, over half of students are experiencing wellness issues and are looking to begin by reducing that figure down to under a quarter of students.

“We’re not going to get rid of it, but (based) on how the year started out and with some different things in place, hopefully that can be diminished,” he said.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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