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An open letter to Queen’s students from Kingston moms

Students filled the Gord Edgar Downie Pier at Breakwater Park over move-in weekend from Friday, Aug. 30 to Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, a scene a local group of mom’s is eager to see return for everyone once the COVID-19 caseload for Kingston and Ontario is under better control. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

The following is a submitted open letter, written on Friday, Apr. 9, 2021. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Kingstonist.

Dear Queen’s students,

Hi, it’s nice to meet you. We’re the moms of Kingston. Or, at least, we’re speaking on behalf of a bunch of them. We have kids ranging from three to fifteen and someday some of them may be at Queen’s too; who knows? Many of us are Queen’s grads ourselves, or we work there, or our kids go to Queen’s Daycare and Queen’s summer camps. We see you most days as we walk our kids to school or grab some cereal at Metro.

We are so, so sorry that COVID-19 has smashed into your student years and made everything harder. These years are meant to be some of the best in your life, when you meet new people, learn and explore new things, find out more about who you are as a human being. This pandemic has taken away so much from you, from your in-class experience to your clubs and activities to your dinner dates. All the best things about these years have been affected for the worse.

It’s been so long. These restrictions have been wrecking your life and your plans for more than a year now. And it’s so hard to keep it up, to try so hard to keep everyone safe, when you’re so tired of it.

It’s hard on everyone, but this pandemic seems almost specifically designed to make it hard for people who are at an age when you’re biologically programmed to be discovering who you are through new experiences and new people.

And here we are, asking you for more.

Because we are. We are asking you to do more and to do better.

So that our kids have a chance to stay in school and their teachers to stay safe. So that we can go to work. So that we don’t have so many nine-year-olds in therapy. So that we can help keep the kids in situations of domestic violence safe in their school day and keep their parents working and accessing the support they need. So that the kids who are struggling to read can see their tutors and the kids who don’t have enough to eat can get something from the snack bin. So that our three-year-olds can find out what a birthday party is. So that the kids of Kingston might have a chance to go to the beach this summer — so that you might have a chance to go to the beach this summer. So that we don’t get sick. And they don’t get sick. And you don’t get sick.

Yesterday, huge groups were gathering at the pier in violation of the stay-at-home order, directly across from the hospital whose ICU is currently at capacity. We know not all of these people were students; we also know a lot of students are adhering to the rules, and we are profoundly grateful to them.

Today the city fenced off the park — and tomorrow we will explain to our children that they fenced it off because people couldn’t follow the rules, and then we will struggle to answer when they ask why they have to follow the rules and other people don’t.

We know it’s hard, and we know it’s long, and we are thinking of you. Please, think of us, the families who live and work in this city.

Stay safe.
Stay home.
Follow the rules.

Love,
Kingston Moms

Cat London, mom to Emily, June and Graham
Lori Rand Hogan, mom to Clara and Charlie
Leanne Eade, mom to Ella, Hazel and Oliver
Anne-Marie Laplante, mom to Sam and Oli
Brenda Leifso, mom to Anja, Aksel and Per
Melissa Boilard, mom to Mabel, Porter, Scarlette and Tilly
Rachel Holthof, mom to Nathaniel and Maggie
Alicia Peltsch, mom to Ryker
Erin Beattie, mom to Ruby and Beckett
Katie Westoll, mom to Madeline
Tess Clifford, mom to Ellie and Hayden
Andrea Gummo, mom to Hazel and Ivy
Alejandra Perez, mom to Mathias and Raphael
Lindsay Heggie, mom to Imogene and Miriam
Judy Van Vliet, mom to Elijah and Annelies
Tricia Knowles, mother of Penelope
Jen Griffin, mom to Norah, Everett and Hazel  
(Replies can be sent to [email protected])

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2 thoughts on “An open letter to Queen’s students from Kingston moms

  • April 13, 2021 at 9:57 am
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    Such a beautiful letter. So gracious.

    -Jerri and Walt, parents of 6, grandparents of 4

  • April 13, 2021 at 10:24 am
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    Dear Kingston moms
    Thank you for this letter. I have two kids at Queens who just needed to hear some acknowledgment that this pandemic has hit them hard, that it goes against everything they are supposed to be doing and that it is particularily hard for this group: they don’t have jobs to keep them busy (either at home or in person), they don’t necessarily live with their significant other like many of us do and, unlike elementary and secondary kids, they have not been in class at all since last March. They have lost agency and hope at a time in their lives when that’s all it’s supposed to be about. But they can do it. You helped show them that it helps everyone in the community if they can just hang on a little longer. They know so many students who are trying to find that delicate balance between following the rules and maintaining their mental health. It’s not easy and all they needed was somone to recognize that. I sent my kids your letter and they loved it and have started sharing it with all their friends. Thank you.

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