We know that the past week has been a whirlwind for all of us.
The closure of schools, science centres and museums, international border restrictions, and new social distancing measures have understandably created challenges and uncertainty. However, these are necessary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. And, they are only the beginning.
Together, we all have a role to play in confronting this global pandemic.
Here at CASC, we have profound hope in our collective action. Never in the history of the world have we ever seen such clear alignment and demonstration of what we are capable of.
Our sector is stepping up. CASC members are showing leadership in a big way. Our hearts are warmed by the outpouring of support of our sector through:
Modelling and promoting effective measures by closing our doors, promoting social distancing, and sharing accurate information from public health authorities. Science Centres and Science Museums are amongst the most trusted sources of information for the public and our audiences rely on us professional science communicators for reliable information, critical in a pandemic crisis.
Supporting families through offering free online educational content for youth and guardians who are now facing home-schooling options. During this difficult time, many CASC members are working tirelessly to provide quality science-at-home activities, kits, videos, and resources to their audiences - free of charge. This is helping parents and guardians ease their concerns and prepare for the uncertain times ahead. We are beginning to catalogue your activities and making them available to the public on our CASC website so that you can be inspired by these resources and share them across communities. Please share your online resources with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being community hubs. Even though the doors are closed, many CASC members are maintaining their community support from continuing planned initiatives like donating 4000 lbs of food to the Sudbury Food Bank to sharing resources to help with anxiety. Our sector cares and every act of kindness and compassion helps build stronger communities. If there are actions you are taking to serve your community that we might share, please let us know at email@example.com.
We also wanted to let you know that CASC is here for you. Our commitment over the coming weeks and months is to:
Advocate for relief funding for our sector, to help staff stay employed and to invest in the online platforms that can help our members inform Canadians. Our sector employs the best professional science communicators across the country and relies on funds generated through programs and ticket sales. Collectively these organizations reach 8 million people across Canada in person each year and reach this audience through 1.35 million accounts on social media, a number that will surely grow over the upcoming weeks and months. Our sharing of accurate, reliable information has a significant impact. The Prime Minister of Canada announced a stimulus package on March 18 of up to $82 billion to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and businesses in Canada, including business support such as tax deferrals and wage subsidy to a maximum of $25,000 per employer, but this support is not enough for our sector. Trudeau was very clear that these measures are not exhaustive and more initiatives will follow.
Advocate for creative science learning solutions that leverage our network of science and innovation engagement leaders. As a ‘new normal’ emerges for youth education over the next few weeks and months, our sector is positioned to play a critical role in a holistic and hands-on approach to science learning. Our members bridge formal and informal science learning environments. Over 90% of our science centres and science museums members have school programs, over 75% offer outreach and community engagement within local and regional communities and we have a strong online presence. How can our sector help and work with school boards to create holistic approaches to experiential science learning?
Share helpful resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide more regular e-newsletters with links to useful resources to help you and your organization navigate the pandemic and provide updates about what CASC members are doing. Please see our web page for current listings.
In a time of global change, CASC is a foundational network that can be leveraged to empower collective action across intergenerational audiences. Thank you for all that you are doing in this challenging time. Together we are stronger.
If you need any support or have ideas for how CASC can be a resource for you and your organization in the days and weeks ahead, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you take time to care for yourselves, your colleagues, your families, and your loved ones.
Executive Director, CASC