London parents react to upcoming school closures due to coronavirus

Parents of Lord Roberts Public School students told Global News how they felt about Ontario school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Students in the London area, along with much of Ontario, will be getting plenty of time off amid the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Concerns over the novel coronavirus have prompted the closure of all publicly funded schools in Ontario for two weeks following March break, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced on Thursday.

Friday marked the final day of class, with closures set to last until April 5.

The Thames Valley District School Board issued an update Friday afternoon outlining the extent of the impact.

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John Gionette, a parent at Lord Roberts Public School, agreed with the decision from the province.

“They’re trying to take precaution, so I feel that it’s a good thing,” Gionette said.

“Even though I haven’t heard of any kids being infected, but just to protect the kids, I feel that it’s a great thing for them to be taking that step.”

The father added that he had no reservations about bringing his son to school on the last day of classes.

“I don’t feel that he’s at any risk, as long as they take the precautions that I think they are… my son, he loves school, so I didn’t want to take him away from that,” Gionette said.

“I was kind of shocked,” said Rebecca McLaren, another parent at Lord Roberts.

McLaren said that while her 13-year-old son is excited to have three weeks off, she worries for his return.

“I’m kind of concerned about the work they might get when they get back… all the homework they might have,” McLaren said.

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Mary Jansenberger says she feels a lot more relaxed after hearing of the closures.

“I’m kind of in a good position. I work from home and I work for myself, so I anticipate I’ll probably take in some of my daughter’s friends during the two weeks following March break,” Jansenberger said.

“I’m a single parent, so if I can help other people with child care, I absolutely will.”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to shut down schools for 2 weeks after March Break to stop spread of COVID-19'
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to shut down schools for 2 weeks after March Break to stop spread of COVID-19

— with files from Global News Radio 980 CFPL’s Jacquelyn LeBel.

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