Parents relieved classes will be back; some teachers are wary

“If you need to shut stuff to slow the ICUs, don’t do it to the children.”

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They are ready to ditch online learning.

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With just days to go until school resumes in person — again — many parents say they are overjoyed their children will be back in class.

“I’m personally thrilled with the news,” said Ontario Families Coalition founder Bronwen Alsop.

“I haven’t told my daughter yet at all.”

Her coalition has been critical about the amount of time students have spent in virtual learning.

“People are going to try and do everything they can to close our schools and continue to keep them closed because they say schools are unsafe,” Alsop said.

“Schools are safe and kids are better off there.”

Athena Reich is absolutely gleeful about Monday’s return.

“My son, I told him they were going back in school and he is so excited,” she said. “He says he hates online learning. He says it’s too much screen time.”

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Like many parents, she is worried about how far behind her son could be because of all the disruption.

“It’s stressful. It’s sad. It’s disheartening,” Reich said.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott spelled out measures the government is putting in place for classrooms across the province.

“We know that it is really important for students to be in school,” Elliott said. “We have seen the numbers of mental health need rise rapidly.  We know that it helps students to be in school for their mental and physical health.

Under the plan, students will not be told about positive tests in their schools.

They also will not be given PCR tests unless they develop symptoms at school.

Elliott also said more HEPA filters are being ordered, cohorts will not be sent home if they are exposed to a positive case, and nine million N95 masks for school staff are being distributed.

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Karen Brown, president of the Elementary School Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said there remain lingering questions about safety.

“The premier himself said it was a tsunami. That doesn’t just end in a week. So we are still concerned that this virus hasn’t slowed down,” Brown said.

“I think parents need to brace themselves for interrupted schooling. I think we’re not going to have the staffing and there are going to be school closures because of the spread.”

  1. A woman walks by Mars Food on College St. on jan. 10, 2020, one of the many businesses which has closed during the pandemic.

    LILLEY: Ontario may have already hit the peak in latest COVID wave

  2. A mom tests her child for COVID at home.

    PCR testing to be used in ‘limited circumstances’ in Ontario schools

  3. In-person learning in Ontario is reportedly back next week.

    Ontario students to return to class next week

That is exactly what Reich and her children fear.

“Children are bearing the brunt of this,” she said.

“If you need to shut stuff to slow the ICUs, don’t do it to the children.”

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