As Valentine’s Day draws closer, students and teachers in Winnipeg are trying to find creative and safe ways to still celebrate.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, school divisions have had to comply with public health orders, meaning food and materials are not to be shared to help limit the risk of the virus spreading. Valentine’s Day is no different.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said while Valentine’s cards would be relatively low-risk, it does still add a risk.
“Overall, if we could just limit the amount of unnecessary risk we take, I think it would probably be best to not have widespread sharing of items, if at all possible,” Roussin said Monday.
Instead, schools and students have been left to come up with new and innovative ways to spread joy this February.
Transcona Collegiate’s Performing Arts Leadership group decided to take on a virtual video task.
“We decided to do something to connect with our elders in care homes because we know the times have been challenging for our students but its been challenging for others in other areas,” music teacher Dan Steinhilber told Global News.
For the past month, Steinhilber and his two colleagues have been working with 30 students to individually record music, vocals and skits to put together for seniors in care homes, which will be shared over the school’s YouTube page.
The group has focused on songs from the 1950’s in hopes that it might help bring back some fond memories for the seniors watching and listening.
“Even when folks are suffering from dementia, you play a song from their youth and their eyes brighten and spirits lighten,” he said.
“So I hope that when they hear these songs performed by these students that it brings some light to the day.”
For the students, it’s a chance to connect with their classmates on a larger project and find the joy in helping others.
“Lots of seniors homes are struggling with COVID,” Grade 12 student Hannah Cole said.
“I’ve had family members in seniors home. I know from the seniors in my life that they would appreciate seeing kids doing music.”
Over in the Louis Riel School Division digital media teacher Matt Colpitts from the Learning From Home School came up with what he calls ‘a creative solution to a real-world problem.’
“To use digital media design software to create touchless Valentine’s Day cards,” Colpitts said, explaining his project.
Colpitts and his students have been using Adobe Spark, a free app, to create cards, animations and videos that can be shared with a simple link over text, email or platforms like Microsoft Teams.
“The creativity is really limitless,” he said. “It’s limited by their own imagination. It’s easy to share and a good creative solution to a real-world problem.”
The Learn From Home School at LRSD is new this year and Colpitts is teaching a few hundred students remotely.
While finding a solution to not physically hand out cards may not save the world, Colpitts said it is a way to help his students think actively about problem solving.
“There’s a huge amount of doom and gloom in the world right now,” he said.
“The problem solving activity is finding the positives and trying your best to search for the good things that are right in front of us that are very different to see sometimes when there’s so much heavy things happening in the world.”