Despite COVID-19, Cornwall school has water war to celebrate last day

CORNWALL, P.E.I. --

"I need more water!" It was a phrase yelled by many of Westwood Primary School's students on June 22 in both the heat of battle and the heat of Cornwall's summer sun. It was typically followed by tactically retreating to retrieve a new, fully-loaded weapon of water warfare so they could continue defending their vehicle from getting just as wet as they were.

Because when the sun's out and school's out at Westwood, that means the squirt guns are out. Sherry Flynn, the school's principal, said every year on the last day of school their Grades K to 3 students are given a chance to douse their teachers in water to mark the beginning of summer.

Levi McKinnon, a student at Westwood Primary School in Cornwall, takes part in a squirt gun war with his teachers on June 22.Despite COVID-19, Cornwall school has water war to celebrate last dayKolin and Mya Beaton, both students at Westwood Primary School in Cornwall, take part in a squirt gun war with their teachers on June 22.

Behind is their mother who's helping reload their squirt guns.

But the teachers usually come prepared - if a student wants payback, they better be prepared for sprayback. "It's a long-standing tradition," Flynn said. "This year we just tweaked it." Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a chance that the highly-anticipated event wasn't going to happen this year.

However, the school came up with a way to make it work by having the parents and guardians of students drive them through the school's parking lot so they could spray teachers down from their vehicles to ensure physical distancing, Flynn said. Vehicles started lining Meadow Bank Road well before the event started. As it unfolded, traffic was so backed up that an RCMP advisory was issued and officers joined to help regulate it.

Despite COVID-19, Cornwall school has water war to celebrate last dayTia MacNeill, left, Liv Campbell, and Sloane Campbell, all students at Westwood Primary School in Cornwall, take part in a squirt gun war with their teachers on June 22.Despite COVID-19, Cornwall school has water war to celebrate last dayKolin Beaton, a student at Westwood Primary School in Cornwall, takes part in a squirt gun war with his teachers on June 22.Despite COVID-19, Cornwall school has water war to celebrate last dayMya Beaton, a student at Westwood Primary School in Cornwall, takes part in a squirt gun war with her teachers on June 22. Behind is her mother who's helping reload her weapon.+

Down on the school's property, it was nothing but fun, laughter and a few bubbles in the air. Students and teachers got the chance to drench one another then wish each other a good summer before the students pulled into a dry zone to pick up their report cards.

Westwood's teachers had planned their defenses well, with many wearing protective gear such as swim goggles, umbrella hats and floating pool tubes. The journalist who was running around taking pictures and video for The Guardian should have asked if they had any to spare. Many students, on the other hand, had an arsenal of squirt guns at the ready, with their parent or guardian often helping them to reload.

Some had the advantage of sitting in the bed of their truck or poking through their car's roof window - either way, the inside of their vehicles were likely to receive some collateral soakage.

Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

Twitter.com/dnlbrown95

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