B.C. teens bracing themselves to miss rites of passage during pandemic
VICTORIA, B.C. -- As classes remain suspended amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, so do opportunities for students to socialize, play sports, and spend time with friends. For the thousands of students in Grade 12, what happens to prom is also a worry.
"This virus is kind of putting everything on hold at the moment. Like we don't even know what's going to happen. I'm assuming it'll be pushed back," high school student Jamie Kachanoski told CTV News.
Kachanoski and Ella Skillings have been friends for more than a decade. The teens already bought their prom dresses, and now they worry they’ll never get to wear them, or experience prom -- something they’ve looked forward to for many years.
"I don't think I fully grasped the impact of it until like maybe a couple of days ago since everything's on the news and it's blowing up everywhere," said Skillings.
The education minister previously said whether schooling resumes this year is a decision that lies with the provincial health officer. Dr. Bonnie Henry is advising people to stay at home, avoid non-essential travel and stay two metres away from others in an attempt to reduce the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus.
On Friday, she noted the toll missing out on school and activities was having on students, particularly those graduating this year.
"What is happening now is extraordinary, and you need to be comfortable in reaching out and find those trusted adults in your life," said Henry, speaking directly to young people.
She also told adults to reach out to youth as well.
While Kachanoski and Skillings both say they’ve heard stories about kids - and others - not listening to health officials’ advice, they’ve been staying six feet apart. They hope others will also pay attention.
"We all just need to stay inside so that we can get this done faster instead of dragging it out even longer than it should be," added Skillings.
"It's not the end of the world, like, we're well off and we're just missing graduation," said Kachanoski.
While Kachanoski recognizes that other people may be in tougher situations, she can’t help but be disappointed. She likely won’t have the opportunity to take part in a milestone event before she and other friends go their separate ways.