Peterborough parents react to province’s decision to keep schools closed until September

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The Ontario government announced Wednesday it would keep schools closed for in-person learning until September. Mark Giunta has reaction from parents – Jun 3, 2021

When it comes to the Ontario government’s decision to keep schools closed until September, reaction from parents is mixed.

Some were hoping their kids would get to go back to in-person learning for the final 3 weeks of the school year while others are happy with the decision to keep their kids at home until September.

“There’s definitely disappointment for my child, who’s five and really missing his buddies — there’s a sense of loss there,” said Kelly O’Dwyer-Manuel.

“It’s loss not just related to the fact he can’t see his friends, but also related to the fact it leaves the school year hanging a bit. He doesn’t get that sense of closure.”

Read more: Ontario schools to remain closed to in-person learning until September

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O’Dwyer-Manuel tells Global News Peterborough her son’s school has done everything possible to maintain a clean and safe environment and she felt comfortable with him going back.

“We would’ve loved for him to go back in some way, shape or form, but we would love to hear how we will prevent this back-and-forth from happening again this (upcoming school) year.”

Global News Peterborough asked parents on Twitter if their children will continue with online learning or if they’re done with it.

“Our 13 year old will continue working online as he has all year,” Kevin Covert tweets. “Not for everyone but works for him.  Not sure we agree with giving up unless special circumstances.”

“We are endeavoring to persevere!” tweets Greg O’Heron. “My feeling regionally we are fine for back in class.  But my guess is when in doubt, keep them out?”

“Done with it,” tweets Helen Burgomaster.

Phillip Jolicoeur has two school-aged children, a five-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. He’s been working from home and has family that have helped with homeschooling.

“I really feel the consistency of our kids staying home for the sake of three weeks. Finish up the homeschooling and let’s start from scratch at the end of August and in September,” Jolicoeur said.

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“It’s a whole new school year and we’re heading in the right direction with COVID and our numbers and vaccines and it’s looking beautiful at this point.”

Read more: COVID-19 — Ontario’s science table says schools can safely reopen on regional basis

Jolicoeur tells Global News Peterborough that the pandemic has been particularly hard on his daughter.

“She’s carrying the weight and the stress of COVID and the fears of COVID. She loves her friends but at the same time she knows the importance of staying away from people, so that’s really stressful for her,” Jolicoeur said.

“Even the thought of her having to go back to school with the announcement of the announcement, her anxiety went up again.”

Jolicoeur said to ease her mind he told his daughter he wouldn’t have sent her back regardless of the decision.

“If our kids feel stressed with home school right now, don’t make them do it. Pull them from it. Go for a walk, clear your mind and do something,” Jolicoeur added.

“I don’t feel it’s essential to pressure them or yourself. It’s so stressful for a parent to see your kids struggling. For the sake of three weeks, I feel it was the right move.”

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Global News Peterborough asked Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking if the province made the right decision.

“I think it was a weighty decision and they had a lot of factors they were considering,” she said.  “I think in our region, I feel for families who have school-aged kids and for kids who are missing out.”

“I think at this point of time, we’re looking to ensure September gets off to a good start.”

Barring any delays, the first day of school for the 2021-22 school year is Sept. 7.

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