RESPONDING TO RACIST COVID-19 STATEMENTS
We will make it through this pandemic eventually, but the only way is for all of us to be respectful of one another. Covid-19 has magnified the longstanding economic, social and racial inequities that exist in our communities and have disproportionately impacted the most vulnerable and marginalized among us.
Given that reality, some students and their families experienced and witnessed firsthand during Covid-19 quarantine how the added layers of poverty, family violence, discrimination, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, mental illness and addictions impeded their access to social, emotional and academic supports. It should be expected that students, parents/guardians will want to talk about this, as well as the mental health and well-being impacts of Covid-19.
As School Leaders, we must recognize that we are all in this together. We are only as safe as those members of our community who are most at risk.
- Acknowledge that students may be struggling with feelings related to how Covid-19 has impacted them and their family.
- Acknowledge that acts and statements of anti-Asian or anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression may have affected individuals they care about and themselves, including their own personal feelings of safety.
- Validate that every student may have a different reaction and response to Covid- 19 and events of discrimination, racialization, marginalization, hate and anti-Black racism.
- Take action and model for students how you as an adult will interrupt or respond to harassment bullying, racism or discrimination in any form.
- "Everyone enters into this discussion with a different lived experience."
- "Sharing opinions which put down another person or promote hate, stereotypes or discrimination of any form are not acceptable, and will not be tolerated."
- When interrupting incidents you could say: "I don't like what I am hearing or seeing because it sounds disrespectful, because it is non- inclusive and because such actions or statements are not tolerated in our school/classroom."
- "Everyone is valued."
- "Support is available for any student affected at the school level."
Social Stigma Associated with COVID-19
"I heard that Covid-19 started in China and is spread by Chinese people."
"I heard that neighborhood has tons of cases. People from there are all infected. I don't want my children to be going anywhere near that place or those people."
"I heard that since no one in my family has Covid-19, then I am fine."
ANYONE, ANYWHERE CAN CATCH COVID-19
STAY INFORMED WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION
- The 2019 novel coronavirus started in Wuhan, China. That is just Geography.
- Just because a person has Chinese Ancestry does not make one more vulnerable nor responsible for this illness.
- The virus attacks us all.
- It does not matter who we are or what we look like.
- Speak up if you see, hear, or read misinformation or harassment.
- Gently correct false information and remind the speaker that prejudiced language and actions make us all less safe.
- Covid-19 does not recognize race, nationality nor ethnicity
- Show compassion and support for those closely impacted.
- Covid-19 can be caught by anyone.
- It does not matter who you are or where you are.
- Viruses do not discriminate and neither should we.
- To protect ourselves, we need to self isolate when we can, wear a mask, wash our hands frequently and stay six feet, (two metres) apart from one another.
- You can interrupt stigma by sharing accurate information. Avoid spreading misinformation.
- Stay informed through reputable, trusted, reliable sources such as the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. Sources such as the Internet and social media (eg, FaceBook) are not as reputable.
- Anyone, anywhere can catch Covid-19 if we are not careful and do not follow the recommended precautions to protect ourselves.
- Wearing a mask, frequently washing your hands and staying six feet (two metres) apart from one another are recommended safety measures to protect yourself from the spread of Covid-19.
For more information, please refer to the Greater Essex County District School Board website or the Windsor Essex-County Health Unit website.
Discussing social identity can be very personal. If you need help with the conversation, please contact Equity and Inclusive Education Officer,
Rachel Olivero 519-255-3200 ext.10213.