Thanks Covid Team

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - By: Jensa NG, Mack ‘23; Photo by Ian McPherson

As Brentwood’s population dispersed across the country for our four day weekend, suitcases in hand, crammed full of all the weekend’s necessities, we asked ourselves the popular question that comes with this holiday, “What am I thankful for?” The overwhelming response of both students and staff alike was, “I am thankful to be back at school in person, as close to normal as possible.”

After hearing rumors about what other schools around the globe have been doing to provide their young scholars with the best learning opportunities, I decided to find out some facts.

I took the opportunity to ask four Brentwood students from around the world what school is like for their peers back home, and after hearing their feedback I am even more thankful for everything our staff and the COVID Team of Mr Patel, Ms Murtland, Mr Sullivan, Mr Burton, Mr McPherson & Mr Shadlock have done to make our Brentwood community as fun and free as possible.

The first student I asked was Tommy M, Privett ‘23, from Revelstoke, British Columbia. Tommy explained that schooling in his Rocky Mountain hometown is 100% in person. However, students are limited to two classes per term in a four-term system, meaning they take 10 weeks to complete a course, and they have to retain that information for a whole 10 months before they might see it again. Or as Tommy points out, “Some students might only have Physical Education and Drama for their first term, which can be very academically degrading.” If we were to keep score here, I would say Brentwood wins this point - Home Town Schools 0, Brentwood 1.

The next student I interviewed was Hudson K, Ellis ‘23, from Muscat, Oman. Hudson tells me that his previous school is completely on Zoom. Now, Zoom is not horrible, but, if Brentwood were asked their thoughts on electronic learning from last spring I assure you the majority of them still prefer in-person, on-campus classes. The word on the street is that schools in Muscat are going back to live learning as soon as November 1st, as long as Covid cases stay at a limited number. They will have a whole new learning curve to catch up to where we are with in-person schooling. Once again, Home Town Schools 0, Brentwood 2.

My third interviewee was Vale P, who attended Brentwood last year but was unable to return this year. Vale was born and raised in Mexico City and attends school there. Vale mentioned that her schooling is also through our trusty friend Zoom. Unlike schools in Muscat, schools in Mexico have only heard rumors about when they could be returning to face-to-face learning. And with the recent uptick in global cases, this return might take longer than anticipated. Much to no one's surprise, our score is Home Town Schools 0, Brentwood 3.

The fourth and final student lives quite close to Brentwood. Oscar L, Ellis ‘23 has spent his life in Courtenay, British Columbia. Oscar asked some of his Courtenay friends what they have been up to in the world of learning and they claimed their classes were all in-person, but as we later found out, not as free as Brentwood students. Schools in the Courtenay/Comox area are not yet having school sports which is the favourite part of many students' school day. Yep, you guessed it, Home Town Schools 0, Brentwood 4.

It is safe to say that even if Brentwood students have to go two weeks without a trip to McDonald’s or Tim’s, we are lucky for every opportunity we have at our wonderful school, such as in-person learning, face-to-face arts, and arts and sports of all sorts. As a community, we owe a huge thanks to our Covid team. Yes, masks might be a pain, cohorts can be frustrating, and do I ever miss the Mack Day Student Room, but in the end, we should all be thankful. I have used this quote before, and I will use it again, as our esteemed Deputy Head of Student Life, Mr Sullivan said “Anything is better than Zoom”.

Jensa NG, Mack ‘23

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